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How the Government Shutdown Is Affecting You

Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images News

We all know the public ways the government shutdown is affecting us. With national parks closed and employees laid off; but there are some other ways the shut down is affecting us in some not so noticeable ways. At least, not right away.

401Ks

Do you have a 401K? Are you planning on retiring? Well, the shutdown could muss that up. It’s hard to tell how much because the Bureau of Labor and Statistics isn’t collecting data right now on unemployment or the Consumer Price Index which measures inflation and consumer confidence. Gerald Epstein of the University of Massachusetts Amherst says, “Financial markets obsessively look at these data on a continuous basis to try to get a jump on forecasting interest rates, inflation, economic growth, and what interest rate policy the Federal Reserve might set.” The longer the shutdown goes, the less information we have, so the lack of information could affect the value of your 401K.


Disease Outbreaks

Chicken contaminated with salmonella has been linked to hundreds of cases of food poisoning across the country. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta should be monitoring things like that as well as seasonal influenza, but they aren’t because they’re on furlough. There could be outbreaks of the flu in a certain part of the country and an inadequate supply of vaccine, but we won’t know until the government gets back up and running. The CDC also measures if the current flu vaccine is working or not, so there’s no way to tell that, either.


Veterans Benefits

Combat wounded veterans who are entitled to benefits won’t be seeing them any time soon. This is because the government is still accepting applications for benefits, but they don’t have the resources for processing the 400 thousand plus claims that are waiting to be fulfilled. Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America says that they are going to have to lay people off once the cash on hand runs out. So, while Congress is fighting over “entitlement programs”, our wounded veterans sit without their benefits. It makes me want to cry.

National memorials dedicated to our veterans are also shut down until further notice. Thankfully VA nurses and doctors are still on the job, but the World War II memorial in Washington D.C. is shut down. That didn’t stop a group of WWII vets from storming the gates and going in anyway. The way they saw it, “If we can storm the beaches of Normandy, we can certainly storm the gates at our memorial!” Some Congressmen found out what happened and they were all clamoring to take credit for helping them out, but the vets said they decided to just do it on their own. Good for them!


Kids With Cancer

This is one of the saddest aspects of the shutdown aside from our military not being paid and thousands of workers being laid off until further notice. Children with cancer who are relying on hope from clinical trials will have to just suffer. Every week the government isn’t running, ten kids with cancer won’t be able to start clinical trials for possibly life saving treatments. There are over a thousand kids who are already on clinical trials that can still get their treatments, but for those waiting, they will have to wait a little longer as the National Institutes of Health had to axe almost 75 percent of their staff.


Beer

I’m pretty sure I heard a resounding, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” when I said that, and I’m so sorry, but it’s true. The Tax and Trade Bureau had to lay off almost their entire staff so they can’t issue new brewery permits. I know that doesn’t sound as awful as it is because when they were fully operational, they were approving permits for at least a brewery a day. Now they’re just focused solely on collecting taxes.

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