The shutdown is over, but many struggle to get back on their feet

Joshua Boulet, Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

The United States’ 35-day-long government shutdown has finally ended. However, that doesn’t mean those 35 days meant nothing. The government may be functioning, but the lost time and unpaid workers will have ramifications across the U.S.

For example, $11 billion was lost during the shutdown. Although around $8 billion was recovered, that still leaves $3 billion dollars that were lost. This is because of the federal workers who missed their paychecks. Many of them got their deserved pay, but private sector workers didn’t.

This wasn’t the only effect on the economy of the U.S. Small businesses couldn’t get loans and federal courts started to run out of cash. Furthermore, it will take some days for everybody to get paid, meaning more days without food for those living paycheck to paycheck (Vox).

National parks also took the toll of the shutdown. Joshua Tree National Park is a key example. Without workers, no one can enforce the rules that keep the park as nice as possible. Kristen Brengel, a key figure for the National Parks Conservation Association, explained how dire the situation was,  "People are bringing in dogs and drones, and there are instances where people aren't following the rules, and it is not good for the wildlife and the environment.” National parks can be vital for certain communities since tourism is a huge industry. 35 days without compensation doesn’t bode well for the parks (CNN).

A surprising loss from the shutdown is in NASA research. Since it isn’t considered terribly important by the government, most NASA workers didn’t work during the 35 days of the shutdown. This meant that any current projects or research was put on hold for an entire month. Deadlines were missed and project were delayed. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine elaborated, “We didn't have a mass exodus — I think, had this gone on longer, we would have — but we did lose people, onesies and twosies across the agency and here at headquarters.” (Space.com).

The Food and Drug administration also stopped many of their inspections during the shutdown. 41 percent of the workers were laid off during those 35 days. This meant that everybody else had to pick up the slack for the lost manpower. Some meat was still being inspected, but some from the FDA warned about seafood due to the lack of inspections in that area.

For those on food stamps, the government shutdown will cause a longer than normal gap between stamps received. This occured because the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to move up February food stamps before they normally arrive to make sure everybody got fed during the shutdown. As a result, the bigger February to March gap will occur. One man said he was literally living off of Oodles of Noodles and was applying for more assistance to buy more.

As time goes on, the status quo will slowly shift back into place. At least, that would be the case if it weren’t for another shutdown planned for Feb. 15 if a deal isn’t met. Until then, people will have to wait with baited breath.