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Shutdown damage could grow

By Mark Hamrick · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Posted: 7 pm ET

Oct. 1 saw the first government shutdown in 17 years. The failure to reach an agreement on a budget has resulted in a partial closure of the federal government.

Most Americans are seeing relatively little immediate impact from the budget stalemate. Stock prices have remained fairly stable, with investors largely betting that the differences will be resolved. An estimated 800,000 "nonessential" federal workers are furloughed across the country. It is presumed they'll get retroactive pay once the budget dispute is resolved, but that isn't immediately assured. If the shutdown persists, the damage likely will grow.

Workplace expert John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., worries about the financial ripple effect, beginning with furloughed workers and their families and extending to their communities. In a written statement, Challenger said these workers "are likely to go into full cost-cutting mode, spending only what they need to put food on the table and pay the most important bills. Dinners out, new furniture or appliances, vacations, and other discretionary expenditures are now off the table."

Others are feeling the pain in ways that many people might not have anticipated. Some of the things Americans can't do when the government shuts down? They can't visit national parks or Smithsonian museums. Presidential libraries are closed, the Internal Revenue Service call center is out of service, and the Social Security Administration won't issue replacement cards.

A plus side to a government shutdown?

Aside from the serious implications of the government shutdown, some folks are trying make the best of it. A number of Washington-area businesses are offering drink and food discounts for people who display federal IDs. One was even offering free hamburgers. On Twitter, the hashtag #ShutdownPickupLines has been trending to keep the comedy alive in a dire situation. It's even been picked up by major news sources.

Glad to know that even if elected leaders are lacking ingenuity, Americans retain a sense of humor.

What is your favorite joke you've seen about the government shutdown?

Listen to Mark Hamrick interview Nayantara Hensel on how the shutdown affects Washington.

Bankrate Audio

Mark

Hamrick

Washington Bureau Chief, Bankrate.com

Doug

Whiteman

Associate editor, Bankrate.com

Nayantara

Hensel

Former chief economist, Department of the Navy

The shutdown, Threatened default: The financial impact

With Washington gridlocked, hundreds of thousands of government workers are furloughed. What's the risk of a new crisis?

LISTEN TO AUDIO

Follow me on Twitter: @hamrickisms.

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1 Comment
carol Saavedra
October 06, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I am a Realtor in NC and the effects are that sales contracts are being terminated due to the government shutdown. The uncertainty of having a pay check to pay regular bills vs. owning a house has many worried. People do not want to have the commitment of owning a house not knowing if they will have a job, and will be able to pay a mortgage. Many homes will be back on the market for sure.