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How a Government Shutdown Would Affect Americans

Apr. 08, 2011 1:54 PM ET
Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

One of the main stories on all the news outlets is the pending partial shutdown of the US government due to a budget stalemate between the Democrats and Republicans. The question many Americans have on their minds is how the shutdown would affect their everyday lives.

Here’s how government services would or would not be affected by the pending Friday midnight shutdown:

• Mail – US postal operations are funded separately. So mail delivery will run as usual.
• Benefits – Social Security payments will continue as usual. Applications will be processed, but at a slower pace than normal. Unemployment benefits will still go out. Medicare will still pay claims for recipients, but payments to doctors and hospitals may be delayed.
• Taxes and Loans – The IRS would not process paper returns, but the tax filing remains April 18th. Taxpayer help lines may not be staffed. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, would stop that work. Loans to small businesses through the Small Business Administration would also be halted.
• Travel – Air traffic controllers will stay on the job, as will Federal air safety inspectors. However, processing of passport applications will be halted.
• Military and Law Enforcement – All military and law enforcement personnel will remain on the job. However, pay may be delayed for US troops.
• Recreation – All national parks around the country will be closed. The same goes for the National Zoo and Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
• Healthcare and Work Safety – The National Institute of Health and Center for Disease Control will be shut down, responding only to emergencies. Federal workplace safety inspectors would stop inspections except in cases of imminent danger.

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