Today is day 1 of the 2013 federal government shutdown. After much refusing to negotiate from all sides and extended prolegomenon-ing, it has happened. Congress could not pass a budget for fiscal year 2014. As a result, we have a ‘partial’ government shutdown, meaning that ‘non-essential’ federal employees are immediately furloughed because there is no approved budget to pay them for what they do. I, as a researcher/analyst-type, am classified as non-essential. And clearly, research and analysis are not essential to the current debate. In fact, given the current atmosphere of nuclear thought meltdown, I’ve never felt less essential. In school, you may have learned that of the 3 branches of government, Congress has the ‘power of the purse.’ Right now, they are exercising a less-known power– the power to decide that they oppose Obamacare, so no one gets a purse.
For most people, the shutdown means a mild to not-so-mild inconvenience of some sort. For example:
- The National Zoo pandacam has been turned off!
- The Air Force-Navy football game might not happen!
- A New Jersey couple can’t get married at the the Grand Canyon!
Since I’m at home with CNN on in the background, I heard the New Jersey couple interviewed, and they were understandably upset. With some agitation, they described the experience of last-minute wrangling to move the ceremony to Sedona– but also pointed out that they were not the only ones affected by the park’s closure. All the Grand Canyon hotels were booked!– the bride-to-be exclaimed. What were all those people supposed to do?
For me, the shutdown means I will not get paid for the foreseeable future, and will be looking for creative ways to pay my mortgage. Also, I’ll be writing this.
So, here’s what I’ve done today so far:
- Set my work e-mail out-of-office message to say: “Hey, um, I can’t…come to the computer right now. Or for a while, probably. Not sure. Kisses!”
- Cancelled a doctor’s appointment with an out-of-network provider because I can’t afford it now that I’m not sure what my income will be this month
- Applied to a temp agency (I may have listed my brother as a reference–shhhh, don’t judge.)
- Watched last night’s “Colbert Report”
Later today, I’m hoping to:
- Write a resume…? I mean…so…I know I’ve done that in the past…but it feels…I’m…oh, I am so rrrrrrusty.
In the meantime, let’s have a moment for snapshots from the shutdown in words and images.
First, today’s favorite shutdown image– guess what everybody? We’re shutdown for a slutdown! What if it were a slutdown? That would be a lot more fun. Clinton and Lewinsky had their famous encounter during the 1995 slutdown, so arguably, they are the Original Shutdown Sluts. OSS, not to be confused with OPP. There’s no room for relationships, there’s just room to hit it! Come on everyone, let’s slut this down! I’m looking at you, Cantor. You too, Pelosi.
Second, today’s favorite shutdown quote. Representative Steve King, R-IA, on Anderson Cooper- a rough transcript:
Anderson Cooper: But you had a national candidate, Mitt Romney, and he lost.
Rep. King: Well, he came in second. I think people overanalyze that.