Most people pay no attention to how many areas of everyday life our federal government is involved in. Many people believe a government shutdown will not affect them even as they depend on federal services almost every day of their lives. Granted, many of these things may not happen right away, as many federal agencies maintain capital reserves by federal law, but those reserves can be measured in days. I suspect a shutdown of more than 3 days could result in severe and, in some cases, permanent disruptions to federal functions.
- A- Archives: the National Archives, Library of Congress, and the US Copyright Office would be forced to close.
- B- Banks: all of the banks still dependent on TARP funds will lose their lifelines and FDIC insurance guarantees will become null because no one can disburse the money.
- C- the Capitol: operation of the US capitol would cease and the capitol area would be forced to close down.
- D- The Drug Enforcement Agency: the DEA will no longer be interdicting supplies of illegal drugs entering the United States.
- E- Education: student loan disbursements and student loan rate guarantees will no longer function.
- F- The Federal Bureau of Investigations: the FBI will no longer be available to assist in investigations of bank robberies and kidnappings. Domestic intelligence operations may cease or be cut severely back.
- G- Governments: State and local government programs dependent on Federal money will be forced to reduce activities or shut down altogether.
- H- Hospitals: medical programs dependent on federal grant money will cease to function.
- I- IRS: the IRS will not be able to collect taxes, disburse refunds, or process returns.
- J- Judges: the federal court system, including the Supreme Court, will be forced to shut down.
- K- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: KSM and the the other detainees at Guantanamo Bay will suddenly be guarded and cared for by people who are not being paid.
- L- Land: farmers utilizing government land, especially for grazing, may discover that land is no longer accessible.
- M- Medical: Medicare and Medicaid disbursements will cease, even for individuals undergoing treatment.
- N- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration: NASA will not be able to fund its ongoing missions, including the International Space Station.
- O- Open Skies: US enforcement of the Open Skies treaty would cease.
- P- the President: While Barack Obama will still be our duly elected president, he will cease to have quite a bit of executive power because that power is derived from the authorization of Congress as part of the budget process.
- Q- A government shutdown Q&A. And another.
- R- Research: federal research grant money will cease.
- S- Social Security: eligible recipients be able to apply for benefits and, if a shutdown goes on long enough, checks may not be issued.
- T- Taxes: the federal government will not be able to collect taxes while it is shut down.
- U- Unemployment: Federal unemployment benefits will cease.
- V- The Veteran’s Administration: VA hospitals may not be able to see new patients and may have to discharge patients.
- W- War: we have combat troops in harms way, but those troops will not be paid and they will have to depend on supplies already available because resupply will stop because those moving the supplies can no longer be paid.
- X- X-rays: the TSA will no longer function.
- Y- Yemen: the US embassy in Yemen, and all other US embassies, will have to cease providing services.
- Z- Zoos: national parks will shut down, such as the National Zoo in Washington D.C.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, and the devil is always in the details. Some of these events could unfold differently than I describe here or not at all. But isn’t that part of the point: no one really knows what will happen, yet we will all be affected by whatever does happen.