Looming U.S. Government Shutdown Sign of Future Financial Crisis
BY KERRI SHANNON, Associate Editor
Washington for months has been tangled in a messy political debate over the 2011 federal budget. The newest deadline to reach a budget deal – April 8 – is just a couple of days away.
The phrase “government shutdown” is being used with increasing frequency.
Temporary funding measures have kept the government running this year as U.S. lawmakers repeatedly extended the final budget deadline. An end to negotiations is still nowhere in sight – stoking the shutdown discussions.
While the thought of a Capitol Hill ghost town has a certain allure, federal budget expert Stan Collender says most Americans would find little to joke about in the face of a real shutdown.
“Everybody may hate federal spending, but they like federal services,” Collender told NPR. “And that’s what happened back in ’95 and ’96 when we had the last two shutdowns. Within minutes…after everyone got over the initial kind of amusement of the situation, they realized suddenly that they couldn’t apply for a passport, couldn’t apply for a visa, and national parks were closed. Government contractors suddenly found out there was no one there to review their proposals or process their checks – and they were angry as hell about it.”