If you’ve been following the news lately I’m sure you’ve heard the federal government is due to shut down on Friday at midnight as the stopgap funding runs dry. If you’re not familiar with a shutdown, it basically means all “non-essential” operations of the federal government would cease immediately.
That means most (if not all) National Parks would be closed. It would be darn near impossible to apply for a passport. And it would make visiting offices like the Social Security Administration a nightmare due to limited staffing. The last significant government shutdown occurred during the transition from 1995 to 1996, lasting 21 days total. For 21 days federal employees were furloughed and forced to stay at home.
What are my feelings on the shutdown? I guess if the government can’t afford to continue operations it should probably be forced to reduce its financial obligations. Just like any private business that can’t afford to pay its bills must make take drastic measures to reduce spending, the government should be no different.
I guess the scariest thing about a shutdown is you don’t know how long it will last. If you aren’t working, you aren’t getting paid. That could put a serious strain on federal employees that don’t have adequate savings established to cover their expenses for a few weeks.
How will the shutdown affect me? Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), my position is considered mission essential and therefore even if the government shuts down, I still have to work. I do get paid for that work though, so it’s all good.
This might make a bunch of you angry (and rightfully so), but the reason I wouldn’t mind being furloughed is that during every other shutdown in history, Congress has always authorized back payment to all the furloughed employees for the time they couldn’t work. Do you know what that means? They basically got free vacation! That’s depressing to have to keep working, when you know others are kicking back, relaxing all cool, shooting some b-ball outside of the school…and will get paid for it.
I’m thankful I have a job. Thankful my position is important enough to keep around even in the event of a shutdown (job security). And thankful that the government has to figure its stuff out before it can keep writing checks. Just like I wasn’t complaining when our salaries were frozen, I won’t complain if the government shuts down.
Do you have any opinions on the government shutdown? How long do you think it will last, do you think employees will receive back pay, etc? What cut backs (if any) have you faced at your work over the last few years (reduction in force/hours, elimination of some benefits, salary freezes)?
p.s. I’m doing my best to coerce Girl Ninja into writing a guest post during her Xmas vacation. You all should totally peer pressure her in to doing so in the comments below 🙂