In reality, key functions of the government will continue to operate as before even in the event of a “shut down”.
- Federal air traffic controllers will continue to monitor take offs and landings;
- The TSA will still be screening passengers in US airports;
- The US military will stay on duty and many credit unions and banks will cover their Oct. 15 paychecks if they are delayed;
- Embassies and consulates overseas will continue to provide services to American citizens;
- The mail will continue to be delivered;
- Federal courts will continue to operate;
- The US Supreme Court will continue to operate as normal when it resumes on October 7;
- Taxes will continue to be collected;
- Sales taxes will continue to be collected
- Garbage will continue to be collected;
- Visa services for people traveling to the United States will continue to operate;
- US passport applications will continue to be processed normally;
- Green card applications will continue to be processed normally;
- Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue to operate normally;
- The vast majority of Homeland Security employees will stay on the job;
- The vast majority of Coast Guard employees will stay on the job;
- The vast majority of Border Patrol agents will stay on the job;
- The vast majority of Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement agents and officers will stay on the job;
- Schools will stay open;
- The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center will continue to issue natural disaster warnings and track storms;
- The Mars Rover will continue to explore the red planet and the International Space Station will continue to operate;
- The District of Columbia passed a $144m contingency fund on Friday to ensure all its services would continue to operate normally;
- Most services managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue.
The most damaging consequence of a government shut down will be that non-essential federal employees will be furloughed (given temporary unpaid leave) and see their paychecks delayed. That’s a bummer if you work for the government, but it’s hardly a doomsday scenario.
In addition, previous “government shut downs” have not caused any kind of sustained panic in the financial markets.
As Ron Paul writes today, “Despite all the hand-wringing heard in DC, a short-term government shut down (which doesn’t actually shut down the government) will not cause the country to collapse.”
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