It should be no surprise to any of you that the government shutdown this morning after a continued standoff between House Republicans and Senate Democrats failed to reach any sort of compromise. Nor is there any doubt that the fallout from this will severely impact America’s economy and credibility with investors here and abroad in the long-run (even if it lasts only a few weeks).
At present, it is unclear how long the shutdown will last, it is known that it will cause a lopsided impact across the nation. While the very legislators who keep knocking the country for a loop every few months will continue to be paid as usual, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be sent home (with about 800,000 ordered to report to work for only four hours today to tend to shut-down related chores), and millions of American citizens will affected in other vital ways. The military, however, will be paid, despite some previous doubts. Taxes will also continue to be collected.
On the more positive side, social security checks will be sent out (though some services have been halted); mail will be delivered, veterans’ clinics will be open, and FHA and VA mortgages will still be available. FBI border patrols, law enforcement and governments food inspectors will remain on the job, as will flight controllers and passenger screeners. Hospitals and doctors will also be reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid, although no new enrollment for the programs will be accepted at this time.
Federal courts will also remain open, but bankruptcy cases have been delayed. Also, already approved funds will still be available to victims of Superstorm Sandy, but no new grants will be processed. National parks, including the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC and other attractions are closed indefinitely.
Lastly, enrollment for health coverage under Obamacare begins today without any disruption, and despite the best opposition efforts otherwise. In fact, due to its independent funding, even a long-term federal shutdown will have very little (if any) impact on the exchanges.