As of midnight on Saturday, January 12, the current partial shutdown of the U.S. government became the longest of its kind in history.
Even though 7 in 10 Americans call the shutdown “embarrassing” and believe it will hurt the country and the economy, political leaders on both sides seem unwilling to give in.
Here’s how to manage your way through the shutdown, no matter how long it lasts.
FOR THOSE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHO ARE AFFECTED BY THE SHUTDOWN, WHAT SHOULD THEY DO NOW?
Go to work!
First of all, those folks should go to work unless they are told otherwise. This is not the time to try to make your feelings about the shutdown known by not showing up for work.
Since the enactment of something called the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, federal employees have been prohibited from striking.
Employees who don’t show up will be considered absent without leave (AWOL) and this could lead to disciplinary action including termination. If you’ve worked hard to build up a government pension, you do not want to put that in danger.
You will get paid!
On the bright side, if there is one, federal employees who just missed their first paychecks can be confident that they will be paid, regardless of whether they were forced to show up for work or not.
On Friday, the House passed a bill that ensures back pay for federal workers who miss paychecks during this shutdown and for any subsequent shutdowns.
Admittedly, this doesn’t help any of the workers that have a car payment that’s due, but at least they know the money is coming…at some point.
With no clear end in sight, contact your union reps
The president has stated that he’s prepared for the shutdown to continue for “months, even years,” and as unorthodox as this administration has been, it’s best to take him at his word.
The longer it gets, the more necessarily it will become for federal employees to contact their union reps.
The American Federation of Government Employees has already filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration asserting that forcing employees to work without pay is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
If your union hasn’t filed a similar suit, you may want to call them to give them a little nudge.
WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US WHO DON’T WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT, HOW MIGHT THIS AFFECT US?
Well, short shutdowns don’t seem to have a big effect on the economy, but the longer it goes, the effects could extend far beyond the 800,000 workers who are caught up in it now.
In fact, there are some estimates that the shutdown could shave $1.2 billion off of GDP for each week that it continues. At that rate, it would only be a few more weeks until the total cost of the shutdown exceeds the amount that the president wants for his wall.
Tax refunds could be delayed
It’s unclear whether tax refunds will go out promptly, or at all, during the shutdown, so if you were looking to file early and get your money fast, you may need to think again.
The stock market could get wild again
If consumer spending starts to drop because of the shutdown, the stock market volatility could come back with a vengeance.
It could slow down your business and housing plans
If you’ve been trying to obtain permits or a Small Business Administration loan for your business you could be in for a long wait while the shutdown gets resolved.
Working on getting a federally backed loan for a new home? You too may need to be patient while you wait for the politicians to get their acts together.
SO, WHAT’S THE MORAL OF THE STORY?
This situation, however rare it might be, underscores the reason why you should never rely on one source for all of your income.
Always look to create multiple streams of income no matter how good of a job you think you have.
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