It’s not known what the exact impact a potential government shutdown will have on the economy since the answer is dependent on how long the shutdown would last. According to a chief economist at Moody’s a partial shutdown ending within 3-4 days would cut the economy’s annual growth rate by 0.2 percentage points to 2.5% in the fourth quarter. If the government shutdown lasted at least three weeks, economic growth could be reduced by 1.4 percentage points. This would result in the economy’s expected growth rate to be cut by at least half.
In the event the government shutdown lasted more than two months, another recession could begin again. Adding to the problem is the potential default by the U.S. Government if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.
Impact of Shutdown on Government Services
The immediate impact of a government shutdown would be the furlough of half of all civilian government workers. However government services considered “critical” to national security, safety, and health would continue. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service (Reaching the Debt Limit: Background and Potential Effects on Government Operations) entitlements such as Social Security and food stamps would continue to be paid. However new applications for many of these entitlements could be delayed because of reduced staff.
The report also predicted that most military functions would continue since active duty military personnel are exempt from furloughs. Mail service would continue as well since employees of the U.S. Postal Service are exempt from furloughs.
Impact of Shutdown on Consumers
There are other more direct impacts to consumers if the government shuts down including the following:
Social Security and Medicare
As previously mentioned, most entitlements would continue to be paid including Social Security and Medicare. However there may be delays with new applications for these services due to employee furloughs.
Travel and Vacations
If you are traveling overseas you may have a difficult time getting a passport or visa because there will be delays in processing them. The exception will be for emergency applications submitted before the government shutdown. If you are traveling within the U.S. you may not be able to visit national parks, national museums, and national zoos since they would all be closed.
If you are planning to get a low down payment FHA loan, you may be disappointed when they are unavailable after the government shutdown. There would probably be no small business loans available from the SBA as well.
Affordable Bankruptcy Courses
Whether or not the Government shuts down October 1 you will still be able to file for bankruptcy or continue your bankruptcy case. The federal Judiciary plans to remain open for 10 business days after the government shutdown and then assess its situation. You will still need to complete a Debtor Education Course in order to successfully complete your bankruptcy and have your debts discharged. Benefits for you when you sign up to take our debtor education course include:
- A web-based, interactive, and easy to understand course
- A course available in both English and Spanish
- Budgeting and financial planning resources
- The same price of $19 for the course whether you take it individually or with your spouse
- A certificate of completion sent directly to you electronically