10 ways a government shutdown will affect your daily life

A goverrnment shutdown looks like this
A goverrnment shutdown looks like this

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    A goverrnment shutdown looks like this

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A goverrnment shutdown looks like this 02:05

Story highlights

  • Two previous shutdowns -- in late 1995 and early 1996 -- cost the country $1.4 billion
  • You'd have to keep paying taxes
  • Furloughed workers would eventually get paid; Troops would be paid
  • You'd see delays in passport and gun permit processing

Democrats and Republicans were unable to resolve their differences over Obamacare and now the government is shut down.

And at a time when the economy's finally showing signs of life, that could be troubling.

Shutdowns don't come cheap. Federal agencies have to use up time, energy and resources to plan for one. Shutting down and then reopening the government also costs money.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the two previous shutdowns -- in late 1995 and early 1996 -- cost the country $1.4 billion.

Government's latest shutdown showdown
Government's latest shutdown showdown

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    Government's latest shutdown showdown

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Government's latest shutdown showdown 03:59

But what will the shutdown mean for you? Will your daily life be affected?

(The answer's yes, so keep reading.)

Here are 10 ways the government shutdown will affect you.

10. Vacation all I ever wanted: Need to get away? Well, you can't. At least not to national parks. Or to national zoos. Or to national museums. They'll be closed. That's 368 National Park Service sites closed, millions of visitors turned away.

Were you thinking more along the lines of a trip to France? If you don't already have a passport, you might have to bid that adieu -- you might not get your blue book in time. The last time the government threw a hissy fit, 200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed. Tourism and airline revenues reeled.

But according to the State Department's current shutdown plan, offices will remain open because they generate enough in fees to support their operation. Any offices located in a federal building affected by the shutdown, however, may not be able to open.

9. Holiday. Celebrate: Don't go to work if you're a federal employee. You're on furlough. (Offer not valid for workers in "critical services," such as air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers and food inspectors.)

Do take some time to celebrate. In previous shutdowns, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after peace returned to Washington.

8. I won't back down: The men and women in uniform will stay on the job and be paid, according to legislation approved by Congress in the run-up to the shutdown.

Scenarios of the shutdown

7. If you drive a car, I'll tax the street: You may be thinking, "No functioning government, no need to pay taxes." Think again. The Man would continue to collect taxes. U.S. bonds would still be issued. And other essential banking functions will go on.

6. Wait a minute, Mr. Postman: You know that whole "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night" thing? Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service works through shutdowns as well. Sorry, you won't catch a break from the junk mail. But hey, you may already be a winner!

5. I want a new drug: Oh, the irony. The Republicans still want to defund, delay or otherwise chip away at Obamacare in exchange for funding the government. But the health care act at the center of this storm would continue its implementation process during a shutdown. That's because its funds aren't dependent on the congressional budget process.

4. Pass the ammunition: Not so fast. A shutdown would affect the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Translation: That gun permit you wanted processed won't happen anytime soon if this goes on for a while.

3. Money (that's what I want): Well, if you own a small business and needed a loan from the government, you'll have to wait, depending on how long this lasts. If you were planning to buy a house and needed a federal loan, you'll have to wait. If you're a veteran, you might have to make a few trips to the mailbox before that check arrives.

If you're on Social Security, however, don't worry -- probably. Social Security payments were sent during the last shutdown. President Barack Obama's expected to keep workers on the payroll to process checks. But would there be enough employees to process new benefits for the newly retired?

2. Anything dirty or dingy or dusty: Oscar the Grouch is a company of one. No one loves trash. But if you live in Washington, expect it to pile up if there's a shutdown. There wouldn't be anyone to collect your garbage. Washington's budget has to be approved by Congress. No budget for the city = no trash collection. And, according to The Washington Post, D.C. produces about 500 tons of garbage each week.

1. I'm proud to be an American: Perhaps the biggest hit would be to the collective psyche. America is the largest economy in the world and a beacon for how democracy ought to work. To watch elected lawmakers engage in a high-stakes staring contest with no one willing to blink is no way to do business. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 51% would blame Republicans for the shutdown. The United States has operated without a budget since 2009 and has avoided a government shutdown with last-minute deals. It's been one stomach-turning sequel after another.

Not only did the government run out of money on Tuesday, the nation is set to hit its borrowing limit and potentially default on its debt in mid-October. Together, they serve -- in the words of CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta -- as a dysfunction double whammy.