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Given all the tentative blinking and glaring going on, it remains impossible to tell when the Republicans might come around on the government shutdown. It all depends on what the party's dead-ender faction chooses to do with their hostage: House Speaker John Boehner. If no agreement is reached and the shutdown drags on until Nov. 1, the difficulties that so far have been ameliorated—by things like spending out of reserve funds and states covering salaries at national parks to keep them open—are going to worsen significantly.

So far, for example, only about 7,200 kids have been ejected from Head Start childcare because federal grants to those programs in several states expired Oct. 1 and could not be renewed because of the shutdown. Come the first of next month, grants for Head Start programs covering 86,000 more children will expire.

What else will be at risk Nov. 1?

Domestic violence shelters receiving monthly grants may have to close. Americans depending for home heat on subsidies from the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistant Program will be out of luck. Welfare checks may not be cut in some states—Arizona having already cut off 5,150 families. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs will be out of money, and it will be up to the states to find money to replace those dollars or cut off recipients. Florida has already said no to this. More than five million military veterans who depend on pension and disability checks as well as GI Bill payments will be cut off.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said late last month that a shutdown that lasts a month could obliterate economic growth for the entire quarter. He has already predicted that the economy will grow only 1.5 percent this quarter—lower than what most analysts have been saying—and a month-long shutdown would cut growth by 1 to 1.5 percentage points, he says.

If the debt ceiling isn't lifted, things will get a lot worse fast. Right now, for some, it's bad enough. Some examples on Day 15:

Furloughed federal workers will be paid retroactively when they come back to work. Mark Drajem and Kathleen Miller report:

The shutdown brought most business at several federal agencies—including NASA—to a halt, and triggered stop-work orders on thousands of U.S. projects. Even when federal workers return, any prospective deal to restore back pay won’t apply to the millions who toil as cooks, cleaners, researchers and analysts on a contract basis. [...]

There are an estimated 7 million full-time equivalent jobs tied to U.S. government contracts, Paul Light, a public policy professor at New York University, said in a phone interview. The estimate includes those who work outside of government for private firms, as well as those who work inside government agencies “sitting side by side next to federal employees,” Light said.

For some contractors, the solution has been to take vacation time now and hope the government will be rolling again when they return.

Below the fold can be read more consequences of tea party craziness.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Exports are being choked off, according to the White House. The Commerce Department, which processed 100,000 new licenses in 2012, is processing none right now. With a vast array of new export regulations being imposed, it's a devil of a time for licensing to be on hold. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture isn't promoting farm exports. And the Export-Import is closed. It helps finance foreign purchases of U.S. goods, approving "roughly $3 billion in authorizations with an export-value of $4.2 billion per month for American exporters."

Social Security beneficiaries are still receiving their checks, but they'll have to wait until the government is up and running full steam again before they find out what cost-of-living increase they will get in January. Normally, this is announced in October, but the Department of Labor's inflation report wasn't released last Wednesday. The Associated Press analysis of previous months' statistics suggests that a 1.5 percent cola is likely.

A Louisiana family has to scramble for $10,000 extra for a home-buying arrangement they were making through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development mortgage program. Tom and Casey Maloy and their five kids had found a way to get out of their cramped quarters in Baton Rouge through the USDA program that requires no down payment. No such loans are now being processed. Rather than lose the home to another buyer, and because the new owner of their current home is moving in next week, they went to the Federal Housing Administration for a loan. (Even though FHA is a federal loan insurer, most lenders can process loans electronically even during the shutdown.) But the Maloy's FHA-backed loan requires a $10,000 down payment and fees will boost their monthly mortgage payment from $1,400 to $1,550.

Scientists worry that the shutdown, added to the cut in funds because of sequester, will damage or destroy their research, some of which has been ongoing for years. Sam Stein reported on letters about this received from scientists at the Huffington Post. Stockpiles of lab organisms (mice, fruit flies, and plants, for example) “take years to grow and need to be handled on a daily basis to be kept alive,” wrote one scientist, who asked not to be named. “Treatments in experiments are administered at regular time intervals. One missed treatment creates bad data and diminishes publishing opportunities.”

Among the worst hit scientists are those doing research in Antarctica. The harsh climate of the frozen continent offers a very short time for research each year, which usually begins in October. Among those affected are Joseph Levy, who, The New York Times reports is studying the climate history of the dry valleys of Antarctica by analyzing buried ice sheets that have been frozen since the last ice age and are beginning to thaw:

Dr. Levy’s instruments have to be in place and taking their ice measurements before the permafrost begins its seasonal thaw in mid-November. This is the third year of the project, he said, and it is “sort of a crescendo year,” in which past measurements of the ice under the McMurdo Dry Valleys could be pulled together to make some predictions. “We know where it’s going; we want to know how long it’s going to be around, and we can’t make that measurement,” he said. “This year we were going to put all the pieces together.” Now, he is hoping that a resolution of the budget fight might allow him to salvage half of the year’s planned research.
Los Alamos National Lab will close its doors Friday if the impasse in Washington isn't resolved by then. The lab employs 10,000 workers whose spending is the only thing that keeps the surrounding New Mexico community alive. "I see it as potential for a major failure. Our county government relies on gross receipts taxes, which they receive from the operations of Los Alamos National Lab," said [Chamber of Commerce member Katy Korkoslla]. "I don't see any part of our economy benefiting from the shutdown."

Mount Rushmore opened again on Monday after South Dakota came up with $15,200 a day to keep the memorial open to visitors. In a controversial move, the Obama administration agreed last week to allow states to pay salaries and other costs of opening these and any of the 401 federal properties, including memorials, monuments and parks. Utah is paying $1.65 million over the next month to keep its five national parks open. Grand Canyon National Park and the Statue of Liberty are also open again.

While some such operations are opening up in the United States, visitors are still being turned away at the war memorial cemeteries in Normandy, France, where allied forces invaded Nazi-held Europe nearly 60 years ago at the cost of more than 4,400 killed in one day. The memorials are federal property.

At harvest time, the shutdown has hit cotton growers already smacked by sequester cuts. Because of the suspension of $3 million in federal loans, growers have had to turn to private (and more expensive) lenders. Growers need extra funds when the harvest begins and cotton cooperatives use federal loans to pay members for their crops. Once the cotton is sold, the cooperative pays back the loan.

Federal courts on the verge of closing. In Connecticut and across the nation, some civil courts are already closed and employees on furlough while others continue operations using reserve funds. Those are rapidly drying up. Criminal courts will continue operating, in part because defendants are guaranteed a speedy trial. However, if no deal is reached in the next couple of days, more furloughs will be forthcoming and criminal courts will see delays. Court personnel—jurors, prosecutors and public defenders and judges—would not receive paychecks.

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Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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