Looming Government Shutdown Will Close Vitally Obscure Services

The wheels of society are about to grind to a screeching halt. | Credit: Daniel Oines

WASHINGTON, DC–Frustrated voters across the US are bracing for the worst.

After a series of tweets and scuttled compromises, Washington DC is on the brink of a government shutdown. If it happens, it would be the first shutdown since 2013 when Senator Ted Cruz discovered he could watch himself give speeches on C-SPAN.

Government shutdowns happen somewhat frequently in the US–there have been 18 since 1976 when the current budgeting process took hold. But even if it’s routine, experts warn that the consequences still be devastating.

Indeed, Senator Dianne Feinstein said that “people die” in a government shutdown. And as a strong advocate of government-related deaths, Feinstein’s words should be taken seriously.

It’s not just death that citizens will have to contend with, however.

The Huffington Post reports that some government museums and monuments may get closed. Similarly, if you were planning to call the famously helpful staff of the Internal Revenue Service this weekend, you’ll have to figure out something else to do with your time.

Visa and passport services may also be subject to delays as a result of the funding suspension. If you were counting on getting a prompt response to your permanent residency application within 2 years, too bad. Now it might be 2 years and a week.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control will get partially shutdown. Among other things, this will include their efforts to track influenza statistics. Fortunately, if you have the flu already, your symptoms will continue as normal and will not be affected by the shutdown.

Things get even worse if you happen to be a government employee in one of the agencies carelessly classified as non-essential. You will have to stay home from work, and you’ll still get paid for it.

The good news is that we won’t be submerged into total anarchy if the government shuts down this weekend. The Transportation Security Airport will still be diligently working to make you regret flying, federal courts will still be open, and of course, US wars never take a day off.

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