web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


The Dreadful Costs of Shutting Down

American Jews will suffer with the rest of the country, especially if they were just retired, or were planning a camping trip.
Members of the Cabinet are watching in the White House Roosevelt Room, as President Barack Obama makes a televised statement on the government shutdown, Sept. 30.

Members of the Cabinet are watching in the White House Roosevelt Room, as President Barack Obama makes a televised statement on the government shutdown, Sept. 30.
Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by David Lienemann

The shutdown of the U.S. government began this morning,because House Republicans refused to pass a funding measure that does not eliminate ObamaCare or push it off by one year. So, presumably, registration of new clients could start today, but without a federal government to manage things. But that’s the least of anyone’s worries.

A few minutes before midnight last night, Budget Director Sylvia Burwell issued a directive to federal agencies to “execute plans for an orderly shutdown.” An estimated 800,000 federal workers faced furloughs, not including the most critical government services, such as the military and air traffic controllers. The rest were invited to come into the office today just to do whatever needs doing to prepare for a long period of paralysis. In fact, they were told not to read or respond to official email. They were told this by official email.

Oct. 1 was supposed to mark a new budget year, and Congress was supposed to pass a spending bill in time, to allow agencies to stay open. They didn’t do that. But there’s a second, possibly scarier deadline coming Oct. 17, when Congress must raise the government $16.7-trillion debt ceiling, or the U.S. will become the biggest deadbeat in human history.

At this point no one knows the outcome of a long-term strike by the federal government. But we can kind of imagine it: things will get ever more apocalyptic as time goes by. But no one has experienced what happens when the world’s last remaining superpower defaults on its financial IOUs.

This is a gigantic game of chicken between Republicans and Democrats, and it could end today, next week, a month from now. The president might come up with an executive trick to resolve this unprecedented event in the history of mankind – or the House might perform some kind of economic coup d’état to disolve the Obama administration. But we’re more concerned with the suffering of individual Americans, and most notably the suffering of American Jews.

So, Social Security payments will go out this month, but they might be delayed, because of the reduced federal work force. If you arranged for direct deposit of your benefits, we think you’ll get them in a timely fashion.

In general, big entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, enjoy mandatory funding and do not require an annual renewal by Congress. Incidentally, this also means that The Affordable Care Act, the very prize on which Republicans are keeping their eyes (47 attempts to kill it so far, but who’s counting) is also guaranteed a long and healthy life, because it, too, is mandatory.

Federal employees running these mandatory programs are considered essential. When President Clinton played chicken with the Republicans and let the government be shut down, the Social Security administration brought back 50,000 employees from their furlough, to handle the claims.

But, again, once we get to October 17, all bets are off, because somebody would have to decide who gets paid first, folks who sold pork sandwiches to the U.S. army, or U.S. senior citizens.

Treasury secretary Jack Lew wrote: “We estimate that, at [Oct. 17], Treasury would have only approximately $30 billion to meet our country’s commitments. This amount would be far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion.”

Prioritize, you say? Well, funny you should say that, because a Bipartisan Policy Center report, written by Shai Akabas and Brian Collins, says prioritization is inconceivable.

“It would involve sorting and choosing from nearly 100 million monthly payments,” they wrote. The Treasury Department does not have the technical capacity to do this, much less the legal authority.

The Obama administration also says it can’t prioritize payments. “Any plan to prioritize some payments over others is simply default by another name,” Lew wrote in a letter to House Speaker Boehner. “There is no way of knowing the damage any prioritization plan would have on our economy and financial markets.”

The Miami Herald reports that homeless shelters and elder-care agencies are working through cash-flow projections to see how long their reserves will last without ongoing injections of federal aid.

So, here’s the painful list of what you can’t do today and for the duration of this crisis:

Can’t apply for new Medicare or Social Security benefits.

Can’t visit the Capitol, it will be closed to visitors.

Can’t get a new small business loan. Existing loans will be honored, new applications will not be accepted.

Can’t visit the Smithsonian or the National Zoo, and about 90 percent of the rest of the museums in the U.S. The animals will get fed, but no visitors, and if they eat a staffer they’ll have to go without.

Can’t camp in a national park, or visit a Civil War battlefield.

Can’t visit any of the DC monuments. National Parks Service is turning off fountains and blocking entrances as we speak.

Can’t check the legal work status of an employee, or close on a mortgage. The E-Verify system is a federal website, so it will be shut down.

Saddest of all: the IRS will suspend audit activities. I’ve been crying all day over that one…

So, the circus is in town. I suggest we all stock up on cans of peas and Cheetos, assemble in front of the various screens in the house and wait.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

6 Responses to “The Dreadful Costs of Shutting Down”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    not getting into Yellowstone isn't "suffering"

  2. Aldo Mimoun says:

    Those idiots in Congress have effectively shut down our Government, furloughed without pay 800.000 employees and go on their merry way to the bank and deposit their paychecks, for doing absolutely nothing. It's not only an injustice it's outright criminal. Just think those parasites, do nothing congressmen still get paid, and still are covered with the most outlandish medical coverage, while the rest of the American people get the shaft. Throw those bums out, draft a new constitution and give the American people their long lost forgotten rights.

  3. Gil Gilman says:

    That is exactly what the Tea Party preached before the american electorate in knee jerk lockstep kicked out some of the babies with the bathwater, and cut off their noses to spite their faces. Now these new age political warriors are showing their real sentiments. They DO NOT care about the electorate, only their political ideology, which is not even theirs really, but those of their vested interests.

  4. Gil Gilman says:

    I agree…the IRS can go fly a kite. The only difficulties will come with social security and mortgages.

  5. Let it not take long. People will suffer.

  6. yzshap says:

    Obama is a liar. He does not wish to negotiate as Democrats did in the past. He is not a Democrat, but a Socialist at best and perhaps a Communist.  He is a dictator. He studied Communism at the Saul Alinsky school. His best friend William Ayres is a Communist. 
    If having hundreds of thousands of EPA and NLRB employees be furloughed, then it is good for the American economy, if they are not paid. We don’t need these groups. We are $16.7 trillion in debt and we have a President who spends money like a child in a candy store.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Pelosi turns her back on Netanyahu and Congress.
Netanyahu Says Israel Can Stand Alone – and Pelosi Turns her Back [video]
Latest News Stories
The best Herzog and Livni can hope for, as of now, is a Pyrrhic victory.

The anti-Bibi barrage last week cost him a grand total of two seats, which went to other parties but not to Bujie and Tzipi.

Rav Ovadia's Robes

Rav Ovadia Yosef’s hat and robes made an appearance at a Shas political rally on Tuesday.

A photograph posted by Mashregh News, an Iranian outlet affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Corps, that shows top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani (R) embracing the leader of Iraq’s Shiite Badr militia Hadi al-Amiri. This picture is not dated, but is thought to have been taken in 2014.

Don’t listen just to Bibi, President Obama, but to your own experts, right there in Washington DC.

Pelosi turns her back on Netanyahu and Congress.

She was brought to tears and “saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warns the battle against Daesh, known as ISIS, has launched World War III, although the U.S.-led coalition fighting the terror group may not yet know it.

Pres. Barack Obama says Israel’s prime minister offered “no viable alternative” to the current deal with Iran. Here’s how it lines up.

Dozens of Democrats gathered to spew a stream of venom before the cameras Tuesday at Israel’s prime minister after his speech to Congress.

Eli Beer stunned the 16,500 AIPAC conference participants by arriving on stage with lights and sirens blaring on an ambucycle, a specially equipped motorcycle ambulance designed by United Hatzalah to speed up emergency response times.

Israel’s PM Netanyahu was interrupted 40 times with standing ovations in his 40 minute historic speech to the US Congress on Tuesday. Transcript here.

The transcript of PM Netanyahu’s speech is available here. The speech begins at 6pm Israel Time / 11AM NY Time.

Former US Secy of State Hillary Clinton is found to have exclusively used private email while at State Dept.

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

“Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate…” to wipe out Israel, PM Netanyahu told Congress.

The Prime Minister showed AIPAC a map of Iranian-backed Hezbollah attacks in five different continents.

If Iran is serious, Netanyahu can skip his speech and tell the Air Force to rev up its engines.

Names and contact information of House Democrats who have confirmed attendance at Bibi’s speech.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-dreadful-costs-of-shutting-down/2013/10/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: