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How the government shutdown may affect you

You’ve got questions about the government shutdown? I’ve got answers.

Sign at Statue of Liberty declaring government shutdown

This crazy thing that has happened is blowing minds everywhere from Florida to Alaska… from the U.S. to Timbuktu. The effects of the government shutdown are being felt and talked about on a global scale, but for those closer to home, let’s explore how it really affects us. I’m going to try to address some of the questions I’ve been getting. I’m a military spouse, and boy, have I been getting the questions — some good, some bad, some downright ridiculous, but that’s to be expected, I guess.

Will the post office shut down?

Well, the short answers are no and nope. We will still get our mail. Woo-hoo! Yes, the postal service is federal, but guess what. They will still deliver. That means those packages you’ve been waiting for from Etsy or Amazon will get there no problem. It also means that our awesome mail carriers will still get paychecks! Hoorah!

How will the military survive? Don’t you guys make peanuts as it is?

What will you do if you don’t get paid? (I know… I know. That’s a lot of questions in one. Don’t worry; it’s OK.) Well, we military couples, families and singles will survive just fine. Sure, some guy risking his life making less than a barista at your local coffee shop is making peanuts as is, but his paycheck is still intact, and for that I am thankful, and I’m sure he is too. This shutdown mess seems to be something that will be rearing its ugly head for years to come, and of course, this is just my personal opinion, but our military personnel should begin to get a little smarter about the proverbial peanuts they are making because, while our pay wasn’t on the chopping block this time, next year we might not be so lucky.

Oh, I forgot one… What do we do if we don’t get paid? Well, for those of us with a little bit of common sense who have saved and don’t live off credit cards and don’t have major debt, we’ll be OK. For the others, I’m not sure. I’m not in their shoes. Again, I hope that this little crisis has begun to make people think about money and how they need to start being a bit more fiscally responsible. I hope it at least starts some dialogue in our homes about how to be better prepared to handle a financial crisis such as this.

How will our city, state and country be affected?

Well… This one is the sad question to answer because there are so many ways that America will be affected by this. Let’s start with the one nearest and dearest to my heart: mothers and children. WIC, for those of you not familiar with the acronym, is Women, Infants and Children. They provide food for underprivileged families. WIC will be shut off and for millions of children and infants all over the country, that means no food, which is a basic necessity to live. Babies will go without formula, children without food and their mothers will be lacking the vital nutrition needed to take care of themselves, therefore rendering them unable to care for their children as well. Depressed yet? No? Let’s continue.

Can we talk about numbers? How about the fact that if this shutdown continues for a week, our economy will have lost $10 billion dollars? I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that America needs that money. Not just part of it, but all of it.

Veterans will miss out on services that they need because no one will be there to help them. The doors will be closed and businesses that belong to the government will be empty. There won’t be any phone lines ringing, and no help for those who risked their lives for years and years for the very country that’s turning its back on them.

The same goes for our wonderful senior citizens — the ones who lived through depressions and recessions time and time again, never thinking that it would get this bad, never thinking that they would be neglected by their country.

Going on a vacation to that national park? Heading out to visit the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore? I’d hold off on that.

Why? Well, because they won’t be open because there won’t be anyone there to work because let us not forget about the jobs. Let us not forget about the hundreds of thousands of workers who are sitting at home wondering, wishing, hoping and praying for a positive resolution to this situation. The ones with the mortgages, car payments, kids in college, parents in nursing homes and bills to pay who didn’t make one red cent today and quite possibly won’t make one red cent tomorrow should a resolution not be reached.

OK, so let’s recap. Post offices will be open. If you’re military, remember that the commissaries will not be open. Most military services will be open, but be prepared for longer-than-usual wait times because the civilian counterparts aren’t at work. Services for veterans, senior citizens and young children will be paused. That includes call centers that work to explain benefits or work out issues with benefits. Our national parks will be closed immediately, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers will not be working in the immediacy and indefinitely.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. Instead, I will hope for a solution. I will hope that this government shutdown will be brief and that our country decides that it will stand united once again. Also, in case you were wondering, most of my facts came from here.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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