The United States of America is two weeks into a shutdown of the federal government. And although many have not been affected by the shutdown firsthand, it is important to recognize its significant impact.
About half of a million people are being furloughed due to the shutdown, and those federal employees provide vital services to the public. Take, for example, the Food and Drug Administration.
With most routine food safety inspections by the FDA suspended due to the shutdown, people are more likely to fall victim to contaminated food than normal
This has already occurred: a salmonella outbreak in raw chicken has spread to 278 people so far (213 of them in California), prompting the FDA to revive Federal meat inspections. However, with 7 strains of the Salmonella, 4 of which being drug resistant, 2 -of the previous four- being antibiotic resistant, and too few FDA members left to deal with this epidemic, the end of it is not near.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has stopped most of its operations, and the introduction of new pesticides, industrial chemicals, and new car models into society have been stalled because the Environmental Protection Agency has come to a halt.
Veterans have been hit hard; they are unable to receive inpatient or outpatient care, information about their benefits, and if the shutdown continues late into October, their compensation and pension payments as well.
First time homebuyers are finding loan processing slow with the Federal Housing Administration understaffed.
America’s tourism industry, with many of its major destinations being national parks and monuments, has suffered.
And of course there is the fact that the shutdown has cost the nation about 2.7 billion dollars so far, with 160 million adding to this every day.
The shutdown has already had serious repercussions, but the most dire consequences are yet to come. In a matter of days, the U.S. could default on its debts. If this happens, foreign investors will lose faith in the ability of the U.S. to pay back its loans, causing the value of federal bonds to decrease, the yield of federal bonds to rise, global interest rates to spike, and potentially, a global financial crisis. In essence, a government default could set the stage for a recession on par with that of 2008.