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(us) government shutdown

Jeanne Boyarsky
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Once again, it is the end of the fiscal year and the (US) government is threatening to shut down. It's getting to be like chicken little. Except with the fear that they actually might do it.

I had asked around in NY and most people don't remember the 1995/1996 shutdown. I'm curious if anyone here does. Or the ones in the 70s for that matter.


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Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

I'm getting sick of the GOP playing this game of chicken with the country. I don't know when Americans are going to wise up and kick them out already.
Bear Bibeault
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Today's tea party loonie-bin right-wingers are making the rest of the Republican party almost look liberal by comparison.

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Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

Yeah compared to the the tea party, a dictatorship looks good.
Campbell Ritchie
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  22
Are they going to turn the USA into another Belgium?
Michael Matola
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    2
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I had asked around in NY and most people don't remember the 1995/1996 shutdown. I'm curious if anyone here does. Or the ones in the 70s for that matter.


Yes. I lived in Washington, DC, at the time (1995/1996), and my wife (then-girlfriend) was a federal employee. The memory I come away with is that people think whatever government services they personally receive should be deemed essential and should continue to be provided in case of shutdown.

I remember people on the news outraged that their vacations to DC were disrupted by the closing of free federally funded museums. "You can't close the Air and Space Museum! It's essential!" Or "You can't close <National Park X>!" (Actually, if I recall, some of the museums still had to have guards on duty because they didn't actually have locks on the doors.)

I remember people outraged that passport processing was in limbo. "You can't hold up my passport renewal! I have business/vacation plans and I've bought tickets already!"

I don't remember the specifics of what happened for Social Security and various assistance program during the shutdown, but I'd rank those higher in the list of "essential" than the other items mentioned.

(My kids' passports need renewing, ideally before Christmas, when we may pass through Canada. So whatever shuts down, it had better not be the passport office!) :P
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Michael,
Thank you for being the first to actually answer the question that started the thread. The problem is that you lived in DC which is an area I'd expect to remember it. I was hoping someone living somewhere else would too!
Martin Vajsar
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  60

Well, I have a haze memory about the local US embassy not processing visa applications. It must have been the 1995/1996 occurrence. I wasn't personally affected, but some friends, who planned a trip to the US, were. I really don't remember how they resolved it.
Ulf Dittmer
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  43
I do. I had moved to the US in the summer, and was following pretty closely what was happening, as I had never heard about any government shutting down anywhere. Being a foreigner, I didn't consume a lot of government services, so I have no personal recollection of anything "missing".

Plus, the first period of shutdown was during the approaching end of the semester, so I would have spent most time studying, or in the computer lab, and the second period was over the break, which I spent mostly in Germany. Looking back, I guess I should be thankful that back then airport security was not handled by a federal agency (as the TSA didn't yet exist) - or would that be deemed essential now so that airports can stay open?

My recollection of the political fallout as reported in the media is just about like Wikipedia describes it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_government_shutdown_of_1995_and_1996#Result): Clinton came away looking good, whereas Gingrich's standing took a dive.


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Joe Ess
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I remember the 1995 shutdown because I snuck my motorcycle through the gates at the local national park so I could take a hike and it wasn't long before I heard a park ranger on a megaphone asking me to return. Apparently they still had funding to have someone to make sure nobody used the park.
CNN's list of 10 ways a shutdown can affect you is a big pile of "meh". I could go years before any of those would affect me personally (though I did go to the Air and Space Museum last month. It's awesome).


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fred rosenberger
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  16

I remember it...I remember it had no impact on me.

I know the last time they talked about it, there was a lot of chatter in the foreign adoption community. When you are traveling abroad to adopt a child, there is a LOT of government work that needs to happen, not limited to just passports. There are background checks, interviews, mountains of paperwork...granted much is at the State level, but we did have to go down to the Dept. of Homeland Security (which now handles Immigration) for some stuff. If the government shuts down, all those cases get put on hold, which is heartbreaking to the parents.


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Jeanne Boyarsky
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I turned on Fox News this morning to find out "why a government shutdown is a good thing." I heard the following:

"I noticed no impact in 1995/1996; how much money will we save with the government shut down"? - Um. none. They paid government employees retroactively last time. And just because you don't notice something doesn't mean it isn't important. This isn't a government function, but I don't notice the phone company fixing wires in the ground. But I'm sure they do and I want it to happen.

And that's it. They quickly moved on to talking about ObamaCare and other stories.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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I stand corrected. Government workers aren't guaranteed retoractive pay. That's just what happened last time
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I stand corrected. Government workers aren't guaranteed retoractive pay. That's just what happened last time


It's a pretty cruddy deal, actually. Thankfully our health care stays in force during the shutdown, at least for a while, but the government can't pay the premiums. So when they do start paying us again, the paycheck will be smaller than normal, as they'll have to double up on the insurance deduction to make up for the missed payments. We'll get paid nothing for a while, then less than normal for a while, before we get back to our regular four-years-of-pay-freezes salary. Thanks, Republicans.


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Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

Someone was telling me that in the last 2 shutdowns, the government spend $2billion in today's money to prepare for the shutdown, and probably that's what it will cost this time too. They have to make sure that all the government properties are secure. They have to make sure that they have everything documented. Who knows how long the shutdown will last, and people might find other jobs, and they will need to hire replacements. So, all the employees of the government have been told to document everything they do, and also make sure everything is in a state where it can be picked up. Basically, parts of the govt are practically shutdown now because the employees are busy preparing for the shutdown. This person works in the Peace Corps, and all she was doing last week is prepare for shutdown.

Even if they do come up with a deal today, that's a lot of wasted effort already.
fred rosenberger
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I have a friend who is a contractor for the government. At the moment, he is putting in tons of overtime to get his project done before the shutdown.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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And the news is covering who to blame. Not how how move on/fix the problem. But who to blame. I guess something needs talking about.
Ok, they got there eventually. This is why I like to read the news and not watch it on TV.
fred rosenberger
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Article from Wired about how the shutdown impacts the CDC, the FDA, and the Dept. of Agriculture, and the potential impact to world health issues - things like a flu, polio, or MERS outbreak, or the inspection of meat and such.
Joe Ess
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    7

Here is a handy link to check on the status of the government shutdown.
Me? I'm off to do some federal crimes. Drink some raw milk. Buy some incandescent light bulbs. Deface some currency
Amit Ghorpade
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    6

I am not following on the news and such about this. But whenever I call up some one back there in India, first question I get is what is happening there as a result of shutdown?
The tone on the other side gives me the feeling of being in a war zone. All I reply is I am not feeling it yet.
And I am not even able to visualize how the shutdown actually looks like. I mean what is impacted and if there is a "Live free or die hard" scene going on somewhere.

Does anyone know if the shut down closes down airports?


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Paul Clapham
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Well, no, the airports aren't run by the federal government.

And the friendly customs and immigration people are still at work because they are designated as an essential service.
Darryl Burke
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Joined: May 03, 2008
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Amit Ghorpade wrote:And I am not even able to visualize how the shutdown actually looks like. I mean what is impacted

Heck, it even impacts using the Java API. From the documentation for java.util.Locale:
The language argument is a valid ISO Language Code. These codes are the lower-case, two-letter codes as defined by ISO-639. You can find a full list of these codes at a number of sites, such as:
http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/englangn.html


That link redirects to http://www.loc.gov/home2/shutdown-message.html


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Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

For the most part America is able to work through a federal shutdown because the government functions are very decentralized. Think about how the country was formed. When the Europeans landed here, they either killed off or caused the native population to die off. This led to last swaths of land being unpopulated. As people begin to spread out, they had to rely on themselves. Help was far far away not coming soon. So, towns started building up in a manner so that they were self governing. The sherif and the mayor and the judge more or less ran everything in the town, and they called the marshals only when they had trouble they couldn't handle themselves. Even after independence, the country was spread so apart that it couldn't be governed by a central authority.

So, by the time the country got around to building its government structure, it carried the spirit of self governance ant every level. Right now, in the US, the local governments and the state governments have a lot of autonomy. they run the roads, the schools, the police. Federal government doesn't really do the day to day functions, and most of the day to day functions that it does do (like run the military) are deemed essential.

India, OTH, was very lazy while defining its government structure during independence. America reinvented the whole wheel when it became independent. India borrowed the yoke from the British. They took all the governing structures that the British left behind, and just put Indians in them. However, the British had designed the system to be centrally managed, because they wanted a few British people to be able to run a country of millions. This is why the central government is so powerful in India, while the federal government is kind of weak in the US, and that's why a lot of Indians imagine doom and gloom when they think of govt shutdown

fred rosenberger
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Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:For the most part America is able to work through a federal shutdown because the government functions are very decentralized.

That ignores the impact this has on real people. I know many people who are employed by the government. They have all been deemed "essential personnel", which means they have to keep working. However, many will not be paid in a timely manner. Those who keep working will be paid...EVENTUALLY. But the bank doesn't care - your mortgage is due when the mortgage is due. Same with your credit cards, your heating/cooling bills, your electricity...

Another friend had vacation scheduled. The government has shut down. He has been told he will be furloughed for those days, since he was taking the time off anyway. While he will not be charged for those vacation days, he has effectively been told "we're not paying you for that week".

Real people are being harmed by this stupid stunt. Both sides are to blame, because neither side is willing to compromise. In order for government to work, BOTH sides have to agree to negotiate, by which I don't mean one side saying "You have to cave to our demands".
Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

Right! Sorry I wasn't clear. I was addressing Amit's point that "he is not feeling it". All I'm saying is that he is not feeling it is because for the most part local and state goverments do more of the day to day decision making. The federal government mostly stays behind the scenes and enables the states to make the decisions for themselves.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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fred rosenberger wrote:
Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:For the most part America is able to work through a federal shutdown because the government functions are very decentralized.

That ignores the impact this has on real people.

Fred: Jayesh's quote mirrors the reaction to this thread when I started it. Even you wrote "I remember it...I remember it had no impact on me. ". It isn't unreasonable to say most people aren't directly affected. At least not right away. He didn't say nobody was affected.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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It's interesting the difference in word choice depending on who reports. We either have:

1) trainwreck, people come together, stand strong, real losers are the American people (basically a message about how terrible Obamacare is)

or

2) traitor, hostage, etc (basically a message about the economy)

And this is why we (the country, not this forum) can't discuss things! Charged language and talking about different issues.

I also saw two interesting (paraphrased) arguments from the Republican side
a) "if the Senate Republicans had stayed strong" - this sounds like a decent argument. If the Senate Republicans had done the same thing as the House, things might have been different. Different could be better or worse though.
b) "if Romney was elected there wouldn't have been a government shutdown or debt ceiling crisis therefore this is Obama's fault for being weak". The premise of this is likely true. The conclusion is quite reaching. If Romney was president, there would have been different priorities for the year.
Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

Fool's errand or heroic stand

"He's the one who got us into this. He had no strategy. And it caused us to waste 16 days and get ourselves killed in the polls," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said of Cruz. "All for a guy who was fraudulent from the start."



Finally, the smart members of the GOP are coming around. It seems to me that the Senate Republicans were standing back because they were waiting for Cruz to fall on his ass
 
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