Shutdown Stories: Mythbusting

Our Shutdown Stories series, which began as a series of public Facebook posts, is focused on providing factual, evidenced based information about the effects of shutting down particular Federal Government agencies. We are moving it here to our corporate blog, in an effort to increase readability and make it easier to share these complex issues. Please feel free to share on the platform of your choosing, with attribution to The War Room Group. 

A little shutdown related myth busting

(Originially Published on Facebook 12/22/2018)

Myth: Federal Workers will be just fine, they already said they would get back pay, there is no reason to worry about this
Fact: The Federal workforce is a direct reflection of American society as a whole, even in the sense that 80% of them live paycheck to paycheck. 
Myth: Everyone will receive the essential services they need with no interruption 
Fact: For now, if you were already receiving those services you will likely continue to, if you were in process on an application or appeal you may not, and if it drags on too long then this changes to you will not
Myth: It saves money to shut the Government down 
Fact: Not only is it more expensive to turn off the machine and turn it back on – in fact some estimates show this is more expensive then the money being fought over. The overall impact to the economy can be staggering though, S&P says that the 2013 shutdown cost the US economy about $24 Billion 
Myth: The Government knows how to do this 
Fact: Agencies are often caught off guard, depending on funding that will get them through only a few days (if any) to organize their workforce and disseminate information, a few have already shut down major outlets of getting info to the public 
Myth: There is no real impact other then a “break” for the Federal workforce, this is what they “signed up for” 
Fact: Civil Service is a noble thing, Civil Servants and their contractor counterparts are scientists, call center reps, data processors, park rangers, IT professionals, etc. who dedicate their careers to serving their country. We use stability as a major factor in trying to attract the “best and brightest” to jobs that on average pay less than their commercial equivalents. The impacts of repeated shutdowns cause a brain drain on our bureaucracy that will be felt for decades. Add to that the recent very public denial of even cost of living adjustments for Feds, and the fact that 80% of civil servants in the Senior Executive Service are eligible for retirement (and an SES can at least double their salary consulting) and you’ve got a massive recruiting and retention problem. 
Myth: Policy Makers run the country. They are at work, this is fine
Fact: Policy makers set the direction. The bureaucracy runs the country. It’s a really cool thing, the bureaucracy, in that unless you literally shut it down, it tends to be self-correcting.