Government shutdown: The upside
Protesters call for cuts in federal spending Wednesday on the steps of Capitol Hill.
April 8th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Government shutdown: The upside

We posted an item here on Thursday on 10 things that could ruin your day if the government shuts down.

Which got us wondering: Is there a silver lining to a shutdown?


– Less traffic. Roads around federal office epicenters in every city would see a noticeable drop in motorists. That’s a good thing. A new study by the Environmental Health Perspectives highlights the link between traffic pollution and brain damage.

– You won’t get audited. While the tax filing deadline is still April 18, a federal shutdown means you can stave off the bean counters – people whose sole purpose is to get you to explain how that monthly Netflix subscription helps your home-based business - at least for a while.

– The White House gift shop will be closed. YIPPEE. You know that miniature flag-striped lapel that can pierce a small organ? We won't be seeing those or that commemorative snow globe your weekend-getaway co-worker erects at their cubicle. Freedom!

– More fish to catch. In Arkansas, anglers will be able to go all out. The Norfolk National Fish Hatchery will release two weeks worth of rainbow and brown trout.

“This would be the week to fish,” Craig Eaton, project leader at the hatchery, told CNN Friday. “We normally release 10 to 14 deliveries a week,” Eaton said. Each delivery contains about 29,000 fish, he said. Do the math. That's a boatload of fish. Can you say reel deal?

– Bankruptcy deferred. About to go bankrupt? Not after Friday. Federal bankruptcy court will be running largely in name only. The online filing system will be up and running but federal buildings will likely be closed.

– More electricity to go around. With average consumption larger than some states, Washington bureaucrats obviously don't know how to cut off the lights when they leave the office. A shutdown means less strain on the power grid.

Anything we forgot? What else can be considered an upside to the federal shutdown?

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Filed under: Budget • Economy • Finance
soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Jenae

    Hopefully a federal shut down on the media that makes us all feel like it's doomsday but it's not. Can we shut down the media hype for one week! Please!

    April 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rock With You Horsegirl

    I guess there would be good and bad effects if there's a shutdown. Bad part would be that medicare is on the list.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe Z

    If they can't make a budget, how can these guys agree on ending any wars? If they can't get along in Washington peacefully, how can we ever negotiate peace around the world?

    April 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Claire J

    Nothing positive or funny about the prospect of a government shutdown. FAIL

    April 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Navyman

    I wonder what our government would do if we the people took to the streets as they are doing across the Middle east. Do we really have it so much better here? (maybe but not for long) Our Government only responds to force, when we finally figure out that we are being abused just like them maybe we will ge our S#@T together and force these people in Washington to really do their jobs.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Moni.W

    Only a ignorant person would say theres a up side to this shut down. Do u realize children may possibly go hungry. Elderly people will not be able to afford daily meds. Not to mention people's husbands, father's, mother's, son, daughters, etc.fight for our freedom can lose limbs but can't make a pay check. Get off the freaking crack pipe and think of the people losing their lives and abilities to make sure we can remain the free country we are.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert G.

      Don't worry about the hungry children and the elderly. Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and Social Security will continue to operate as usual. The government knows how important these programs are and would not cut off families intentionally. As for the military it remains to be seen what agreement will be reached. Hopefully funding will be secured so that our troops will not have to fight on IOUs. I don't think that the writer of this article was on crack, but was rather trying to write a lighthearted piece addressing possible positive sides of the shutdown. There are always two sides to an event, and while the positives do not outweigh the negatives, they should still be recognized.

      I mean, the "white house gift shop shutting down". If thats not tongue in cheek...

      April 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Responsible person

      There is absolutely no reason other than stupidity that people can't afford to eat. Everyone should have an emergency savings account setup. If someone is living so tight on their paychecks then they need to reevaluate their spending habits.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      I don't think the writer of this article was being ignorant. They were trying to find humor in the situation. I believe that they have written this article with sarcasm.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xavier

      "make sure we can remain the free country we are." You are right, how can we remain free when we aren't getting free stuff????

      April 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goose66

      The fact is the Government shutdown won't affect me one bit – positive or negatively. I don't rely on foodstamps, medicaid, or any other government handout (yes I realize they won't stop those programs). I don't go to National Parks or museums because I am too busy working to pay my gigantic tax bill. The military is not shutting down, and everyone of those soldiers will get every penny coming to them, so quit bellyaching over that aspect. Now, if my tax bill was reduced by the number of days that the government was functioning, I would say great! - shut it down for a month or two. But frankly I could not care less if a shutdown happens or not, because it changes nothing by providing liberals a chance to bemoan the poor, underprivileged who won't be getting their handouts (even though they actually will get their handouts - we all know it to be true).

      April 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin the announcer at a monster truck pull after the guy blows his engine up - "time to shut'er down...." Let the chips fall where they may.....right in OB's lap. Enjoy the sunset of your presidency're already a lame duck.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Oh hey I just found stupidity in the form of someone going by the name of Responsible person. Take a little time to live in the real world instead of making such ignorant statements.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I guess you don't drive on roads, or eat food? You don't care if your food goes uninspected for diseases or if roads go unmaintained? What about making sure those wonderful kids toys from China aren't going to give your kids cancer? The government does a lot of things besides help the poor and run parks.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poopydoo

      The only folks I feel sorry for are the ones in DC proper! Their the ones who will really feel the shutdown. Do they even get trash picked up if the federal gov't shuts down? I don't think so. Also, I'm former active-duty military. We were paid PLENTY to have enough saved for emergencies. We had housing, health, dental, and a few extras, all paid for. There's no reason, other than hastily buying a house that's too big or a car that's too fancy, that military folks should be immediately affected by this shutdown. Now if it lasts a month or more, then maybe. But if people weren't so greedy around here, and socked away some cash every once in awhile instead of throwing it to big houses and fancy wheels on their cool cars, people wouldn't be so up-in-arms.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      You guys have to be mentally unfit to process this. Military is not allowed to use those programs. There is no silver anything when American soldiers are being forced to fight for a country that sees it ok to denie their financial benefits. These soldier protect us and go to enemy territories so we dont have to. Only a sick and twisted individual would find it ok that an 18 year old child is asked to defend his country and in exchange we give him a pay cut. Anyone who approves of this should take their behinds to terrorist locations and fight.

      April 9, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • learning 4 ever

      You make excellent points about the bad side of a government shutdown. However, there are good sides no matter how irrelevant or high they may seem. You unable to see this is why there is such polarization in politics today. No matter what party politicians support in government, they are still qualified to make a good decision. If you say they are not then you are calling the majority of the people that elected them unable to vote intelligently and that is un-American. All I ask is a little patience to learn about how the other side thinks before you start the insults. After all we all are still learning.

      April 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ME

      well said, this is no laughing matter, im a single mother living paycheck to paycheck& yes i do rely on foodstamps to foodstamps to feed my kids...u cant simply say everyone should have a back up savings account, these days some people simply cant afford to save, becauce some people only make enough money too pay bills and to get too work, especially with these high gas prices, people always judging other people and dont know their story or situation, its not cool, and to say people that dont have back up accounts should change their way of spending, bills have too be paid, "CANT CHANGE THAT". Then you have men & women at war loosing their lives and getting nothing.This is bad no matter how you look at it, bad on the people and it looks bad on our country!!!

      April 10, 2011 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
    • oliver

      Get Paid To Drink

      April 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • unkown

      the amount of angry people in thios world scares me

      April 11, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • jennifer03

      i agree with goose66: shut it down, it wont affect me any as well, i dont get handouts,health help,foodstamps, non of the above. Iam self employed, and if your starving of hunger thats ur own fault!!!! with the exception of children, adults should have a savings account of some sort, to fall back on. if you rely on government benefits that much, thats ur own damn fault, im tired of my tax dollars going to people that just dont feel the need to take care of them selves. just like the government, taking someone elses money & doing whatever they want with it.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jenae

    I'm ready to take this budget fiasco over. Anyone in? Let's get organized.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Ive mailed and emailed fully balanced budgets more than a few times. They don't seem to be interested.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Whole Earth

    The guy with the sign looks like a ventriloquist's dummy.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You're just jealous that you don't have a cool outfit like that.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • IUJazzDad

      A brief review of the comments on this obviously light-hearted look at the upside to the shutdown tells me why this country is in the trouble it is. People are, in no particular order, mean, ignorant and just plain stupid. This country is not run by people who write to these messages boards. It's run by people who get us all to focus on the things that do not matter in our everyday lives like abortion, guns, religion and other social issues while they steal us all blind. When are you people who call yourselves conservative realize that you're being robbed blind by those who tell you that tax cuts for the wealthy are going to help YOU? Wake Up! This is just absurd. The rich have us middle class people at each others' throats while they stand back and laugh at us. We deserve exactly what we got by following voodoo economics, thinking the rich would create jobs for "us" if only they didn't have to pay the taxes they should. It's time for the wealthy to step up. They have all the wealth.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    It's actually the Norfork Fish Hatchery not Norfolk.

    April 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jen t.

    Rofl @ this article & the apparent lack of any funny bone from those reading it.

    Good show!

    April 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Unknown

    on the abortion section of this stupid disagreement the standard rules that svc members follow is very restrictive not just anyone can get an abortion....why is this an issue?

    April 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James Simundson

    I'm sorry for all of you that don't understand exactly how lucky you are to be living in this country... I understand the frustration brought on by having a split Congress right now whose only concern is making sure the other party's bills don't pass, that bills from the other party that have passed become repealed, and that bills that do pass keep their own checkbooks fat... I am not saying that every one of our men or women serving in congress is a horrible person, and though I'm definitely a Democrat, I don't believe the entire Republican party is incompetent, many of them have very interesting goals that would benefit our country greatly, I just think that there needs to be more than two political parties that are actually in play, five or six would be ideal! This would bring a much needed third and fourth perspective to many of the issues we face, as well as stop the constant bickering and each party's feeling that they need to stop anything that’s proposed by the opposite party. Unfortunately they end up spending more time stopping bills that could make a world of difference just to try and make the other party look bad... It's been absolutely awful watching our Congress stop all the progress that Mr. Obama wants so badly to bring to our country. I'm not saying he's perfect, nobody is, but I do believe that he has the best intentions as well as a drive to bring the changes to our country that have been needed so badly for such an extremely long time. I'm sure that he is just sick about the fact that the people that are in charge of running our country are making it almost impossible for any of his goals to be accomplished simply because of their own political agendas as well as their inability to "just get along" with each other... To those of you suggesting protests, I would love to hear your opinion after living in a country for just one year that restricts all the freedoms we so much take for granted... You do understand that there are places that you can go to jail for life, or even be put to death, just as a result of refusing to verbally agree with the opinions of the government in charge... And saying that Libya is receiving assistance from NATO (Not the US Government, we just happen to belong to a group of Nations that supports Peace and Freedom) because of the fact they have oil??? I live in North Dakota, and just in our state we have enough oil to run the entire country for over 35 years, possibly much, much longer. The US also did not step in until several of our allies asked us for our assistance because they knew something had to be done. I don't know how the situation over there is just flying over so many people’s heads... Do they not understand that their own Government is wiping out the Libyan people left and right just because they disagree about certain issues? It is literally almost a repeat of Nazi Germany, without the "taking over the world" part, but I pity the people that stand aside and watch the massacre taking place without stepping in, especially when the country's own people are literally begging for help... And Mr. Obama again made a very good decision when he didn't wait for Congressional approval after already waiting for the support and initial action having taken place by another Government. Had he not, we would have looked like we were just concerned about oil, fortunately Bush is no longer in office, and our current President has ethics and morals that most politicians actually joke about. I really have trouble understanding how so many different Americans can actually have views like those posted in this list of comments responding to a news article? I personally know several people that want nothing more than to get their US citizenship. Until they accomplish that feat, they must remain in constant worry about the day their visa runs out, having a run-in with the law, and any of the many different things that can get a visitor deported in no time... Even a "visitor" that has been living here for 15 years and considers this "home"... I actually do think our country is something to be proud of, I admit that we have our issues, but the "freedoms" we so much take for granted were paid for with many lives. Living without a Government is something that a few of you wrote about very easily, but actually living through it is something that you couldn't compare to a never ending nightmare. Do they not understand that there is still places where people have to live without sewers, running water, electricity, medicine, grocery stores, mail, I mean think a little before you write, I would put my life savings on the fact that not one of the people that wrote those comments would last six months in a third world country. Anyway, hopefully our Congress can get past their childish issues and actually start doing their jobs again soon. It's not going to be a split House for long, and that will get the wheels rolling again for sure. And I really have to say, hats off to Mr. President Obama! The man has accomplished more than anyone could possibly expect him to with the barricades they have provided for him, criticizing him the entire way of course, not to mention the fact that every time he turns around there's another major international issue he's been forced to deal with, all the while listening to the people that can't even think about appreciating him because they're so busy trying to think of another reason he's doing such a horrible job... Seriously, the people that can't even see much less appreciate what he's already done for our country, not to mention everything that he's been trying to accomplish for us before his terms over, well they need to take off their blinders, if you think that this is a horrible country to live in, I don't know what to tell you, doesn't get much better than this, sorry... The comment about "what would the other countries say if we asked them to enforce a no-fly zone for us if we tried protesting our government to overthrow them, they probably wouldn't say much, they would be laughing too hard, literally, probably for days...

    James Simundson
    Grand Forks, ND

    April 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisiana

      Love ur comment

      April 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Very well said! I couldn't agree more.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • a reader

      Well said sir 🙂

      April 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monica in Denver

      I completely agree with you..great explanation of the truth.

      April 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • scottb

      What did you say?

      April 9, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Navyman

    The guy with the sign I can somewhat understand he is the only one in the picture that is not YET getting Social Security and Medicare and still they want a Shut down????????????? I know we need a Government overhall but these cuts are going to hit these very people the hardest. Be Carefull what you ask for you might just get it.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob;

      To jennifer 03 that has never had to get help, i'm happy for you .But you don't have the knowledge of being born poor, if you have you would'nt be popin off at the gums. I've been workin ever since i have been 16,and now i'm 40yrs.Just by what you wrote you have no heart or since. And you may be self employed but i bet that somebody helped you get started or handed it down.I've worked in constrution for 19yrs,and i have never asked for helped but i got laid off and now i am drawin my unemployment. I can tell you this you don't have a heart. WE THE PEOPLE need to stand together and stand behind Obama and stop cryin like the rest of the politicians and stop actin like big cry babys. What people like you need to have too live under some of the conditions that alot of good people has to live because of companys shuting down,you should have too live on 228.00 a week for six months, i bet you would break down because you sound like a spoiled BRATT that has had everythhing she ever wanted. I have a 6yrs. and i worry about everybody.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Air force active duty

    Classy article...I'll remember to read this again so I can have a laugh when I'm wondering which bills to pay after my next "paycheck"

    April 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave in Altmar

    fwiw, the "guy with the sign" was caught on video saying he *didn't* actually want the government to shut down – he was "just making a point".

    No end to nitwits out there...

    April 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andre

      I remember back in 1981 when I was linivg in DC they had to shut it down for a week or so no big deal. No End of The World. It's happened before.The biggest newsmedia panic-story was about all the Public Employees (Union-members now?) who were going to get stiffed on their paychecks because of missing a few days work why cant Congress and the Senate get stiffed too?Shut it down ever year for a month would be a good start.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
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