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Your take: Have you been affected by the shutdown?

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Has the shutdown affected your finances?

It’s clear Americans are really annoyed about the government shutdown currently underway. A poll conducted this week by CBS News found 72 percent of Americans oppose shutting the government down over opposition to the Affordable Care Act, and Congress’ approval rating is down in the single digits.

In many ways, Americans’ outrage is justified. More than three-quarters of a million government workers are currently furloughed, and many more considered “essential” are basically being forced to receive an IOU instead of a paycheck. On top of that, many Americans have had their government benefits held up by the shutdown, and anyone who needed a fact or figure from a government website was pretty much out of luck. Heck, even the Mars Rover has been sidelined until this is over.

But there were probably millions of Americans who barely noticed the shutdown’s effects on their own lives. Social Security checks have kept going out mostly unscathed, unemployment checks keep finding their way to those hunting for jobs, and the US Postal Service continues to drop your check off at the cable company.

So here’s my question for you: Have your finances been affected by the government shutdown? If so, how?

{ 28 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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28 Responses to “Your take: Have you been affected by the shutdown?”

  1. Brandon says:

    Luckily none of my finances have been affected, but as you mentioned, many gov sites are down and that’s an inconvenience.

    Also I find it funny that the Mars Rover is sidelined, but Kennedy Space Center is still open for business if you want to look at rockets and buy an overpriced cup shaped like a space shuttle.

  2. Guest1 says:

    I think it affects overall the mental state of our human race. Where is the human integrity in all of this? These congressional workers are there, in the Capitol, to serve the people and to look after the general welfare of the human race as well as our economy. They are doing neither!

    In the end, the federal worker will receive his/her paycheck; but, basically they will receive pay (funded by taxpayers) for no work. No fault of their own and I am not knocking this at all – - but our Congressional slackers are simply being irresponsible in lieu of protecting their egos.

    Shame on you Congress! Shame on you.

  3. Simon Elstad says:

    Haven’t been affected in any way so far. Outraged though that our politicians had to drag us through this messy affair!

  4. Ralph Ruiz says:

    No, it has not affected me. But I also have not received notice that my premiums are going up either! Spending outside of a budget, year after year, and racking up debt is bad. To add such a complicated and unsustainable piece of legislation, that the majority of americans don’t want, is unwise and indefensible. However, the blame should be laid at the feet of the american people. Uniformed, Undisciplined, and Unprincipled. When the Majority adopts that mindset as a lifestyle, then sadly we will see that played out by our politicians. God help us.

  5. Gary says:

    My wife and I are both federal employees, but we have savings to cover emergencies. Our needs and must-pay bills are covered, and we’re adjusting our discretionary spending accordingly. The current manufactured crisis–coupled with wage and hiring freezes across the federal workforce– brings into question whether we continue public service or move to the private sector.

  6. Brandon says:

    Gary brings up an interesting thought: why would anyone want to work in the public sector after this?

    What kid graduates and thinks, “yea, I want to work in a sector that’s constantly in flux, managed by incompetent decision-makers who are willing to risk my livelihood over politics.”

  7. Tommy Z says:

    I have not been impacted one bit by this “shutdown.” Actually, I’m wondering what “shutdown” everybody keeps referring to anyway. My paycheck continues to have deductions for payroll taxes – so the government must be spending THAT money.

    The house should refuse to raise the debt ceiling ever again – regardless of reason. It’s time to start living within our means instead of being dependent upon the charity of foreigners to continue loaning us money. If we don’t impose our own debt ceiling, at some point our creditors will.

  8. Ed says:

    Tommy Z has it correct. I would like to add two points. The “shut down” is only a minor portion of discrissionary spending and just like the siquester the sky didn’t fall so maybe we can do without in order to get our financial house in order. Another manufactured crisis.

  9. freeby50 says:

    ” “yea, I want to work in a sector that’s constantly in flux, managed by incompetent decision-makers who are willing to risk my livelihood over politics.”

    Sounds like a lot of jobs in the private sector. Just different kind of incompetent decision makers and different politics.

    Jim

  10. freeby50 says:

    WE’ve had a marginal impact from it. A relative of ours is a govt. employee and he was going to visit us but isn’t able to do so now due to the shutdown. I think he’s management and required to work for some reason… though I’m not really sure on the details.

    Jim

  11. Mary says:

    I am a federal worker and have been furloughed…

    Although my husband and I are ok as of right now, if this keeps up we are going to be hurting real soon…

    We have 3 young grandkids living with us and with a family of five and having to buy stuff for them it stretches the budget more and more especiaqlly if you have less and less….

    The song says – I am proud to be an American… Don’t know what I am supposed to be proud about…

    We have toooooo many idiots running things…. And we are in the lowest part of any survey, poll, list with the rest of the civilized world for any type of care or help for our own.. Hell if I moved to another country I would get more help from the USA than I do living here now…..

    And while I am glad not everyone is in the boat with me on furlough, it will begin to be their problem as well if this goes on a long time as prices for everything will rise as people cannot afford to spend what they have if they have anything so it will affect everyone….

    • Tommy Z says:

      Not paying government employees (provided that the employees do not get paid for the time off) means that money is not being spent. Less government spending means less money needs to be printed by the Federal Reserve. This is positive news for inflation. Costs for consumers will either rise more slowly than otherwise, or might start to fall as productivity/efficiency/technology is allowed to drive down costs.

  12. Guest says:

    I’m a furloughed federal employee in a fortunate personal financial position, but may have to use my retirement buffer emergency fund sooner than expected: I plan to retire this winter, so may have to adjust plans depending on how long the shutdown persists. Then the fact that it’s expected they’ll give us back pay for the time we don’t work also affects my finances the same way it will the whole population’s: it adds to debt whose ceiling our “leaders” will ironically be voting to increase in just 2 weeks. I am terribly disappointed in our “Leadership”….
    But I love your blog!
    Thanks.

  13. Huskervball says:

    I think that history shows that the last shut-down impacted the view the rest of the world had of the USA. It reminds me of Italy’s puppet governments after WWII.

    The people who can least afford to go without paychecks are the people who are hurt the most. What about the Mom who cannot get free or reduced food for her baby? What about the person with cancer who cannot join the NIMH study?

    We will be judged by how we cared for the least of our brethren and we are failing that test.

  14. fabbclimbers says:

    This is what happens when you have a bunch of millionaires running the country. Dems and Repubs alike.

    As a Viet Nam vet I can tell you I didn’t go to war (drafted) for this type of totally corrupt and self serving gov’t.

    I anxiously await the eventual collapse of our financial system. I am prepared to “deal with it” when that happens. If you are not prepared you are foolish.

    Population has expanded 28% since 1990, but Federal Spending is up 600%. this is unsustainable and will lead to the worse depression in our country’s history.

  15. I personally haven’t been affected much if at all from the shutdown but I know friends and family that have. Hopefully it is all cleared up soon for their sake!

  16. Vicki says:

    I am a furloughed federal employee. I recently received an inheritance, so can use that to tide me over until things are resolved… but if I didn’t have it, It would be a different story as I only had about a Month’s worth of emergency fund. I have coworkers who are very nervous right now for that very reason. A big concern is that we won’t get.back pay… We’re the innocent victims.

  17. K says:

    I am a disabled US ARMY VET and have an unemployed husband. We rely on the US Commissary system which is shut down.

    My sister and her husband and 2 children are in Hawaii where they charge 15$ for a watermelon also rely on the commissary system. It was closed with one day notice.

    Veterans volunteered to give their lives to protect our nation and now the nation says we will no longer give you food at the commissary rate.
    Do you know how cheaply military people are paid? They qualify for food stamps! Who wants to be on welfare because they volunteer to serve their nation in it’s defense?
    Commissary is supposed to make it affordable to survive where people are stationed but now that promise is broken!
    The poorest of the poor are being slammed in their family budget.
    Are veterans supposed to starve to serve this nation too? Good luck to the civilians that do not understand war and how other nations hate the U.S.A.. Good luck to all of those that think people will continue to volunteer for these outlandish slave labor wages!

  18. Dan says:

    If your non-essential you should be laid off then you could sign-up unemployment just like the civilian population. Your will receive back pay so whats the problem? If I had my way you would have this time off charged against your vacation time to receive pay or sign-up for unemployment welcome to the real world.

  19. Claes says:

    First off, want to say that it’s great to see so many of you all weighing in on this. For my part, whatever you think of the merits of either side’s case, I think the methods here are seriously flawed. I haven’t been personally affected too much, other than doing research for my posts has become more difficult since many government websites I rely on such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics have been shut down until they figure this out. But I do know some government employees, including a dedicated and hardworking FBI agent who I consider a real hero, facing furloughs that could seriously disrupt their finances. The thing I fear is that this is just one more reason not to sign up to serve the U.S. as a government employee, and not being able to attract talented individuals into government service is something that hurts us all.

  20. Dan says:

    If you think the work force is talented now let tell you if their was not an eraser on the end of the pencil, most would not know the end to sharpen.

  21. freeby50 says:

    “Population has expanded 28% since 1990, but Federal Spending is up 600%.”

    Federal spending is up about 220% from ’90 to ’13. thats a lot but nowhere near +600%

  22. Claes says:

    S&P 500 is up 373.63 percent since 1990 … I don’t know if percent change is a good metric here. US GDP rose from $6 trillion a year to over $16 trillion. Just something to consider.

  23. Gwen H. says:

    Yes the shutdown has impacted my household.

  24. dojo says:

    I don’t live in the US and I have my own business anyway, but I’m outraged with this even if it doesn’t affect me or the people I love. My heart goes to all the families who are being affected, let’s hope this madness stops soon and you can make it through this all.

  25. James says:

    Hey Claes,

    I’m a government contractor. We haven’t heard about a couple of pending contracts because of the shutdown – that said I’m remaining optimistic that some good will come out of this, hopefully we will get a budget deal which helps to save money on the federal budget over the long run.

    James


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