Shutdown endangers U.S. economy through small business, furloughed employees

Seth Young

Eleven days into the shutdown, the government’s conditions are affecting some people more than others, such as the nearly 800,000 government employees who are currently sitting on furlough, or unpaid leave.

“Shutting down the government is a bad idea because our society is a complex web of activities, and government is the glue that holds them all together,” said Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science. “You cannot just chop off this and that or shut off parts suddenly without causing serious damage. You can’t take two tires off a car and drive it.”

A bill was rushed through Congress amidst the chaos that allows for the military to remain in paid service during the shutdown.

Roughly half of the State Department civilian employees have been furloughed for the duration.

Federally funded attractions across the nation have their doors closed, such as the Smithsonian, the National World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. As a result, privately owned businesses are seeing significant revenue declines.

“Many small businesses are shut down because national parks, monuments and other facilities are closed, and these souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and other businesses now can’t met their payroll because there is no business,” Schmidt said.

This dilemma has been faced by the country before, most recently in 1995 during the Clinton administration. It lasted a total of 21 days and cost the nation nearly $400 million just in funds paid to furloughed federal workers. At the time, the issue was chiefly Medicare funding, not unlike the current problem.

The shutdown is being held in place by the ongoing argument about the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s proposed health care plan.

While there are a number of issues that the representatives cannot seem to agree on, it is health care funding that is being thrown back and forth across the halls of the Capitol.

“Another terrible consequence of a government shutdown is that many people are put at risk,” Schmidt said. “People with delicate and life-saving medical treatment on federal experimental drugs have been deprived of treatment.”

As the shutdown nears the beginning of its third week, another bill has been put in place allowing for the continuation of benefit payments to the families of fallen veterans during the near complete standstill of federal control. 

It is still unclear as to when the shutdown will be resolved and what will be the result faced by the government and the country in its wake. 

A government shutdown also raises fears that the Congress may vote against raising the national debt ceiling,” Schmidt said.

The debt ceiling refers to the cap at which dues owed by the government to other countries can no longer be paid on time or in full.

If the president and the House fail to decide on a budget plan by Oct. 17, the date on which the ceiling will be reached, they run the risk of defaulting on loans causing further significant turmoil to the global economy.

Check back with the Daily for further information as the story develops.