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10 ways a government shutdown could affect your daily life

Updated: Saturday, September 28 2013, 11:31 AM CDT
CNN - If the Democrats and Republicans don't stop bickering and agree to how the U.S. should pay its bills, the federal government will shut down, come October 1.

And at a time when the economy's finally showing signs of life, that could be troubling.

Shutdowns don't come cheap. Federal agencies have to use up time, energy and resources to plan for one. Shutting down and then reopening the government also costs money.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the two previous shutdowns -- in late 1995 and early 1996 -- cost the country $1.4 billion.

But what would a shutdown mean for you? Would your daily life be affected?

(The answer's yes, so keep reading.)

Here are 10 ways a government shutdown would affect you.

10. Vacation all I ever wanted: Need to get away? Well, you can't. At least not to national parks. Or to national zoos. Or to national museums. They'd all be closed. That's 368 National Park Service sites closed, millions of visitors turned away.

Were you thinking more along the lines of a trip to France? If you don't already have a passport, you might have to bid that adieu -- you might not get your blue book in time. The last time the government threw a hissy fit, 200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed. Tourism and airline revenues reeled.

But according to the State Department's current shutdown plan, offices will remain open because they generate enough in fees to support their operation. Any offices located in a federal building affected by the shutdown, however, may not be able to open.

9. Holiday. Celebrate: Don't come to work if you're a federal employee. You're on furlough. (Offer not valid for workers in "critical services," such as air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers and food inspectors.)

Do take some time to celebrate. In previous shutdowns, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after peace returned to Washington.

8. I won't back down: The good news (for you) is that the men and women in uniform would continue to keep you safe. The bad news (for them) is that they'd be paid in IOUs until the shutdown ended. In January, Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, introduced legislation that would have protected pay for the troops during a shutdown, but it didn't get anywhere.

Rep. C.W. Young, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told the Air Force Times, "All military personnel will continue to serve and accrue pay but will not actually be paid until appropriations are available."

Their mid-October paycheck would be the first affected. In addition, the congressman told the paper, changes of station would be delayed, medical offerings would be scaled back, facility and weapons maintenance would be suspended and most civilian employees would be furloughed until appropriations are available.

7. If you drive a car, I'll tax the street: You may be thinking, "No functioning government, no need to pay taxes." Think again. The Man would continue to collect taxes. U.S. bonds would still be issued. And other essential banking functions would go on.

6. Wait a minute, Mr. Postman: You know that whole "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night" thing? Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service works through shutdowns as well. Sorry, you won't catch a break from the junk mail. But hey, you may already be a winner!

To keep reading how else you could be affected, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/23/politics/government-shutdown-daily-life/index.html?on.cnn=1&hpt=hp_t110 ways a government shutdown could affect your daily life


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