Opinions on the U.S. federal government shutdown

How do you feel about the United States’ federal government operating at drastically reduced capacity (being “shut down”)?

What are the immediate and long-term effects1 that you expect to feel, and will they be ultimately be beneficial or harmful to the country?

1 Immediate effects are the ones that have already begun to impact you, or which will occur after established milestone dates like the Department of the Treasury’s October 17th debt default estimate. Long-term effects are the ones that will be seen in a timeframe of months to years, and include things like political consequences in the next federal election.

I think it’s definitely a bad thing. I don’t think it’s acceptable for a small minority of politicians hold the country hostage while the economy suffers.

Personally, I’m not very affected, but things that I care about are, namely the NASA grants and national parks. Within FIRST, I know a lot of teams are supported by NASA grants, and without the government those don’t happen. I’m also very into the outdoors, and having places like Yosemite and Mt. Rainier closed just isn’t okay with me.

Here’s some food for thought. So we temporarily suspended non-essential workers. Why do we have non-essential workers? Shouldn’t everyone’s job be essential? If it isn’t, why have it at all?

It’s almost a political question… :cool:

It affects me a little bit, my wife is currently on furlough. She gets time off. She might get paid for the time off, or might not, we’ll see what happens. At least she’ll be able to help me with thatmovie robot tomorrow.

They’re non-essential as in they don’t perform a function absolutely necessary to safety or security. They do, however, provide valuable services.

Non-essential long term is very different than non-essential short term. Heck, they’ve furloughed everyone from civilian Coast Guard training personnel to FAA inspectors. Personally, I’d feel rather less safe if those folks weren’t considered essential in the longer term.

I’m not in much of a position to be hurt directly, but it’s hard to watch good employees like DoD civilians pack up. Best wishes to everyone.

Here are a few twists for you to think about…
Here in Chicago a runaway commuter elevated train crashed early Monday morning injuring more than 30 people, the NTSB investigators are essential personnel while they are on site but revert to non-essential when they return home. The folks that make up the reports are nonessential so even though the investigators may have reached a conclusion in the crash, it can’t be reported. The FBI is the official investigators on crash sites and will be paid sometime for their work, just not now. However, when they get paid is yet to be determined and may be months from now. They are required to work even without the pay for now.
The real irony is that congress gets paid through the whole debacle regardless!**

Dave Lavery is a non-essential worker. I’ll let you two talk it out.
Better get your bike. :slight_smile:

I have always found the term “non-essential” lacking in terms of precision and valuation of the work people do. It causes a lot of contention during times like this, or during disasters and such. A much better set of terms would be “critical”/“non-critical”. This puts more emphasis on the time sensitivity of the required work, rather than the worth.

I think the shutdown is a bad thing. The intransigence of many politicians has caused a failure of government. There is no direct impact on me, aside from the face-palms I engage in when thinking about this.

I can’t even pretend to know all that this impacts, but one of the biggest thoughts on my mind is how this looks to the world. The USA is relied on for so much around the world, and this makes it look like we can’t get our act together, and that is just sad. I get that healthcare is a really controversial issue, but I’ve always hated the government’s ability to tack things onto bills that have absolutely nothing to do with the bill itself. Who came up with that and why is it still allowed? Can’t we just debate the issue itself like adults?

And will someone please change the 27th amendment so that when the government shuts down because Congress & the House are bickering, Congress & the House are forced to WORK without pay!! Several good representatives have recognized this and are donating their pay back to the treasury or at least to charity, but it seems dumb that they get paid during this…

Personally I feel bad for all of the people that have no idea when they will be able to return to work. Sure a week off here or there can usually be handled, but many already took paycuts over the summer where they had to take off every other friday, or more. I have a friend who’s dream job had been to work for NASA, after 10 years, he finally got the job and started a month ago… and with a new child and a new house, he is now furloughed with no idea of when he will be allowed to return.

My company, as well as all that I have worked for are funded by government procurements and dollars, so while we get to keep our lights on for now, we do have a forced shutdown over the Dec-Jan holidays where we are required to take vacation time or take the time unpaid. If all of this government nonsense keeps up (I read that it was estimated that this shutdown would cost over $2 BILLION dollars), it will likely mean reduced funding for all defense contractors, and likely more cuts/furloughs for my company. We can hope to rely on international or commercial markets, but my group is entirely military/federal in nature. And while no, our products are “not essential” to day to day American lives, tell the families of the thousands of soldiers that have been saved by our robots, or to the families of the bomb squads who used our robots to disarm the remainder of the Boston Marathon bombs that their family members are “non-essential”, and the cost of their lives was not worth the expenditure on our robots. Im fairly certain every one of them would have disagreed. The federal workers who manage our contracts and fight to get funding to buy our robots to protect our soldiers and police are currently in the “non-essential” category, thus, while we can still execute on our current contracts, no new ones can come in until they are allowed to return to work.

So while I am fortunate to not be directly impacted, I feel for those who are, and I am already feeling the indirect impacts, and hoping this doesn’t create a further slip in our economy.

I think that the real issue is that the politicians are forcing people out of work because they want something to happen. I’m sure that this sort of thing would’t happen if their paycheck was on the line. Everything is fine when it doesn’t affect them but it is a huge problem when it does.

Which is a good point to make.

Somewhat related: California for YEARS had trouble getting a balanced budget (required by state constitution–dunno why the U.S. constitution can’t be amended for that!) on time. Voters got fed up and passed an amendment to the state constitution saying that if the budget wasn’t on time as well as balanced, the state legislators wouldn’t get paid, not even retroactively. Couple years back, the budget was on time but not balanced. No pay for lawmakers–they complained, the folks that cut the checks stood firm…and a balanced budget passed shortly thereafter, I want to say about a week. Haven’t had any issues like that since that I can recall. :smiley:

But for the U.S. Congress, there’s a couple of things that might help. For example, if your friendly local representative or senator were to receive letters from a large number of constituents that if they didn’t do something, they would not be getting your vote next election, that might get them moving. Telling them which direction you wanted them to move to get your vote would help them in negotiations (“My constituents want X. That is why I am voting the way I am voting. Would you care to join me at the next town hall when I tell them why I had to vote for Y?”).

So far, hasn’t affected me. Admittedly, the government is a customer of the company I work for, but they are not the only customer by any means.

Well, I’m biased since I’m furloughed right now, but hey, it gives me more time to work on robotics stuff. I’ve been trying to work on some team CAD standards, so this isn’t all that bad. Hopefully they’ll give us back pay.

That’s the burning question.
My wife is lucky to have been spared, while others in her office were not.
Somber day at work for sure.

I was happy that they unanimously passed the bill to continue military pay.

Until Army National Guard units across the country cancelled/postponed drill weekends. I assume our normal training is non-essential. It’s gonna be a tight month for me.

I’ll refrain from going into details, but ultimately I’m extremely unhappy about the whole situation, even before I was directly affected.

In the poll above, 3 people say it’s good now, and 3 people say it will be good in the future. I don’t think we’ve haven’t heard from those 4 people1—what’s the upside of this situation?

1 4, not 6, because some selected both in a single poll option. (Incidentally, the poll has 16 cross-tabulated choices because a simpler multiple-choice poll would eliminate the ability to correlate present and future outlooks.)

Shutdown is almost negligible, but DEFAULT (around 10/17) will be a disaster of historic proportions.

I am a conservative Republican, not a fan of budget deficits, nor of Obamacare, but those IDIOTS in Washington have me ready to donate to the Democrats. I hired them to do a job, and they’re not doing it, so I think it’s time for them to get fired.


I should hope that this causes the general public to be more diligent about voting for more than just the President and Mayor.

This is the real issue at hand. Defaulting on our debts could send our country into another depression.

The thing about the 27th amendment is interesting. i feel like it would definitely help, but plenty of politicians have external sources of income, to the point where getting rid of congressional salary would have a negligible effect.

I hope that everyone comes to their senses, and realizes that it’s just wrong to hold the government hostage when you don’t get your way.

Food for thought: