ABCNews.com recently ran a story that began with the following statement:
How would a government shutdown impact Americans far removed from the partisan wrangling in the nation’s capital? Most Americans are unlikely to feel a direct impact — seniors will likely continue to get their Medicare and Social Security checks, as will veterans. But a government shutdown could hurt consumer confidence and further roil already volatile financial markets.
You would think a news organization such as ABC would know that Washington DC is not the only employer of federal workers. Although I consider myself to be “an American far removed from the partisan wrangling in the nation’s capital,” I work at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) in Oklahoma City. Although numbers vary depending on the source, the MMAC employs approximately 5,600 federal employees and somewhere around three thousand contractors. That’s between eight and nine thousand Oklahomans.
If Congress is unable to quickly come to an agreement, any federal employee not classified as “essential personnel” will be sent home without pay. If there is indeed a furlough on Monday, everybody in my area (including all network and tech support employees) will not report to work. And if everybody in my area shuts down and goes home, anybody else who works there and uses a computer might as well go home too.
So assuming a worst case scenario, let’s say the roughly 9,000 Oklahomans I work with are sent home for some as-of-yet undefined period of time without pay. (This number doesn’t count any other tens of thousands of federal employees that work in Oklahoma.) Imagine how your spending habits would change if you were suddenly faced with days or weeks without pay? No, I’m not going to lose my house or have my utilities turned off, but I’m certainly going to stop visiting Starbucks. I’m going to stop eating out at all, in fact. I’m going to stop driving as much and using as much gas. I’m going to stop spending as much money as possible.
Here, in Oklahoma.
To be honest I’ve never been that political of a guy, but it appears it may be time to do some reading and figure out who is to blame for this nonsense — and more importantly, who not to vote for next time around.