What the non-shutdown means to you

Shortly after midnight on January 20 the federal government, we are told, was shutdown. However most people haven’t noticed any differences in their daily life.

CNN reports, “Essential services, such as Social Security, air traffic control and the Transportation Security Administration, will continue to be funded even if some employees of those agencies are not.
The US Postal Service won’t stop serving residents — you’ll still get your mail.”

However tourists were rebuffed from visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island over the weekend. That’s because National Parks are part of the nonessential services that are affected by the so-called shutdown, which according to CNN includes “agencies that pay out small business loans and process passport requests.”

The one question that remains unanswered is: “Why are there nonessential federal employees?” But I digress.

Even though nearly 800,000 federal employees are being placed on furlough, the American taxpayers are not saving any money. FoxNews reports, “Federal employees typically receive back pay shortly upon their return.” Additionally many of the furloughed federal employees may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation during the period of time in which they aren’t working. Which means that some furloughed workers will actually get paid twice for the time in which they aren’t working.

Those federal employees who are not being furloughed will also be paid once the shutdown ends. That means the US military will continue to the global War on Terror – drone bombings and all, the NSA will continue to spy on millions of Americans without a warrant, the TSA will continue to molest airline passengers, and federal prisons will continue to hold nonviolent offenders of US drug laws however Vox reports, “Civil litigation efforts at the Department of Justice… [will] cease.”

A “government shutdown” isn’t actually a shutdown at all, it’s a failure of the Congress to pass a budget, even if the budget is in the form of a Continuing Resolution. These supposed shutdowns are simply an excuse for those in power to implement the Washington Monument strategy, which Roll Call describes as “an old legislative ploy where an agency threatens to close popular services first” instead of actually eliminating those nonessential and/or unpopular services. But I guess Republicans only want to support spending cuts when they don’t control both houses of Congress and the White House!