If you’ve been able to tear yourself away from the Breaking Bad hype, you’ve probably heard something about a looming government shutdown tonight. As regular readers know, I try not to get into politics. I’m not going to go into the details of why and how the government shutdown may happen. There are a number of news outlets who are better informed on the topic if you are interested.
Today, I want to write about the government shutdown’s impact on one family – mine.
I realize that most people aren’t directly impacted by a shutdown and much of this talk about the government shutdown may amount to jibber jabber in their mind. After all, do we really care if some people are going to lose their iPhones?
For our family a prolonged government shutdown is more financially dangerous . My wife’s military status means she has to work to pick up the slack from the government workers who are prohibited from working in a shutdown. Because the government can’t pay people in a shutdown, she’ll get IOUs from the government.
The result of the situation is more work paired with no spendable paycheck. I joke about the IOUs and call them illiquid, non-interest bearing treasury bonds. However, it’s not a joking matter, especially for families that don’t have a sizable emergency fund.
The hope is that any shutdown will be short-lived and military won’t have piles of IOUs stack up from the government. I wouldn’t put the odds of a prolonged government shutdown as high, but there’s always a risk.
Of more immediate impact for us is that military leave gets cancelled. Any travel plans are cancelled and you are left on your own to take the financial loss. We have airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rental reservations, and dog boarding reservations and that leads to scrambling to find out what the penalty is to cancel. So far every organization has been sympathetic, except for United Airlines. They want to be sticklers about the cancellation policy and take $200 out of each ticket to reschedule for another time.
In many posts in the past, I’ve written about various military benefits that we receive. Our situation is still decidedly in the plus column. Nonetheless, there’s always the threat of a looming emergency. That’s we are we this week. It should get interesting.
Update: Well this post has become much more meaningless. It seems that Obama signed a bill to ensure that the military still gets paid (no IOUs). It also turns out that there is a law on the books that if granted leave is rescinded the government has to reimburse for losses… which is enough to stop them from rescinding leave. Getting new leave granted though, that’s a different story.
P.S. I don’t watch Breaking Bad, but I think I’m going to try to marathon it in a couple of months while the wife is on maternity leave.