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. MIke

    The Republicans say it is the Democrats and vice/versa (typical politics) why not put the debate on CNN or Fox so the public can see and hear what is actually the holdup. They had nearly 7 months to get this worked out but it still goes down to the last minute. Why is THEIR pay and BENEFITS not stopped during this mess? As always, the middle class and poor are the ones affected the most. WHY ????? We STILL need the Fair Tax and then we (The country and citizens except the rich) would have more $$$ to fund the needed programs. THe politicians dont want it, except for Hukabee and a few others, because they are all rich.

    April 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Theresa Ryan

    Well the damn Senators and Congressman should not get paid either. what makes them so special! right now they are proving they are not worth the pot I pee on.I agree, I think the Military should put their guns too, and have the Government go and fight, and give their lives like our men are!!!!

    April 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beverly

      Theresa, they wouldn't go fight for thier Country they can't even do a good job for what they are being paid to do. How can they fight for us, when they can't win at what they are arguing about. Let's face it..we voted in a bunch of sleezy, money hungry politicians that get paid regardless of who they put out of work. I can't help but wonder how many of them have a son or daughter in the Military that they are hurting, or grand-child....Wake up AMERICA! we have been had....

      April 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. meyer, jarrett k

    Still doest help me pay my bills or buy diapers for my child

    April 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephane Guinta

      no mabey not but they don't need to be getting paid if we are not. My husband has fought in 2 wars now and we don't have alll the money to pay bills with either

      April 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stephane Guinta

    I think all of the idots in washington are the ones that need to go without pay, food, and housing. I for one don't have money to pay for this shut down with my taxes. Let them be the ones to pay for a change not us. When are they going to learn we the people voted for them and we the people will get rid of them with this next election.

    April 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Phil in Oregon

    Here's a possibility: the shutdown will trigger a selloff in stocks, pushing prices into the toilet. People who have money(like the congressmen who still get paid) get to buy stocks at drastic savings. As the rest of us limp back toward recovery, they get rich selling the stocks.

    April 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • texas pete

      When that happens, I am well positioned to buy some great stock bargains. Because I live within my means, I have saved up a lot of $$$. Government do your worst.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Neeneko

    Oh, and a longer recession with slower growth... I am sure lots of pundits and political figures are drooling over that one.

    April 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matthew

    Well, I suppose one upside to the government shutdown is that the government bureaucrats won't be able to ruin anything else while they're on forced furlough. That's something, anyway.

    April 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ahem

      Gosh, you're slow.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Natasha

    What about how this is going to effect military familys??? A lot of military familys live paycheck to paycheck. How are we supposed to pay or bills???? How are we supposed to feed our familys?????
    – a frustrated military wife

    April 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mandi

    This is the most unthoughtful article. As a wife of a soldier who depends on an income, this article is like a slap in the face! My husband is over in Iraq, and this article has the nerve to say that roads will be less crowded, and less power will be used!!! Really??

    April 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fonz01

      If you need more $ you need to get a job. Your husband signed up voluntarily. He wasn't drafted. He knew the risks and so did you.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      I think the article was mostly facetious. The point being is that there isnt a whole lot of upside to a shutdown...get it?

      April 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ace


      This article is satire. The author is clearly just as disgusted about the gov't shutdown as the rest of us. Even though it would never happen, I'd love to see the military shutdown operations because they aren't getting paid. That would rattle congress more than the 800,000 employees that won't be at work on Monday.

      What makes me angry is that they've been debating other pieces of legislature not pertinent to the budget. I tuned into the live feed from the House and they were talking about a telecom act from the early 2000s. While I believe it is important to limit the FCC's ability to regulate the internet, now is not the time. The ONLY legislation that should be discussed in the remaining hours of the day should be about the budget. The idea that congressmen are frittering away critical hours in favor of non-essential legislation is appalling.

      I believe the vast majority of Americans would prefer that both the GOP and Democratic Party put aside their petty ideological differences, stop playing the blame game, and figure something out. If both of the parties are serious about cutting spending, why not impose a blanket 5%-10% cut over all government funded programs? That is how budget and personell cuts have been imposed at the University I attend. While it may not be a long term fix, it may at least enable the passage of the 2011 fiscal budget.

      Overall, very frustrating.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • a solider

      Really fonz01? Yeah you must be a solider...and its funny I don't remeber reading my contract sign here but you might not get paid. I signed with the risk of possible death not for my son to not eat.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • LCDR, USN

      Fonz01 – you are an idiot. She doesn't need more money, she needs the money her husband has earned! There are so many who will never understand. ADM Mullen is right – there will come a day when the American population doesn't even know the people they send into harms way.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen


      If you need more $ you need to get a job. Your husband signed up voluntarily. He wasn't drafted. He knew the risks and so did you.

      You are a complete A#$%! Fonz01! Why dont you tell your Corporate Sponsor to start paying their taxes and bring the "Jobs" back that This military wife is Supposed to just get on her own as a SINGLE MOTHER WHILE HER HUSBAND IS RISKING HIS LIFE FOR YOU TO HAVE YOUR FREE SPEECH AND JOB ! why dont you voluntarily join the military and leave your family behind, go fight in a desert , watch your buddy get blown to bits AGAIN FOR YOUR FREEDOM so that you can feel what its like to walk in THEIR SHOES! If Mandi is the wife of s PRIVATE or even a Specialist , They make less than 25,000.00 PER YEAR you freekin jerk!

      April 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Could please get your contact info, I would love to come and see you in person when I return from Afghanistan

      April 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. daniel sharp

    Military doesn't get paid. Those in combat or about to go to combat have something else to stress because its good for them. Oh wait....

    April 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. guest

    Shut it down!!!! This government is so out of control it's ridiculous.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael0075

      You know that there is one reality that you'll have to face when this shutdown happens. You never miss it till it's gone, and while this shutdown will wake this country up, it'll be a revolution of the likes never seen since the founding of this country. The Corrupt politicians in power are going to get themselves impeached for this little stunt. And I can bet they won't get re-elected next season that's for sure. If the Republicans wanted to commit political suicide, mission accomplished, same goes for the Democrats.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Oh, BTW, a shutdown actually costs money – thus the government ironically becomes more inefficient and costly if it has to shutdown for a week or two. It's kind of like shutting down your refrigerator to save money on electricity. So, for those who think government shutdown equals saving money, then you are flat out wrong. Only way to save money is to pass a budget that is slimmed down in a manner that reduces spending but doesnt reduce the economy (revenue) – a task that is not easily accomplished. The idea that cutting everything across the board would work is a bit ignorant unless you actually believe the economy wouldnt be affected.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Daniel

    No Customs inspections of incoming goods, so no new electronic crap from China. No new iPhones or iPad enterring the country to destroy our childrens minds

    April 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. harold and kumar

    It's like High School all over again....except they are adults who should be more proffessional...our government is a joke..elimanate all of the parties....should be one...they are ALL idiots!!

    April 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Norman Nelson

    They aren't looking the cost of the shutdown, then the cost to reopen government, the losses across the country and
    most importantly the lack of respect for the American people by doing something they truly don't want done, shutting the
    government down over issues not directly related to the budget is just bull headed dumb thinking, they all get paid
    anyway just so ya know

    April 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Daniel


    April 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fonz01

      Exactly! Bring home the troops. Close the borders. Dump all the illegals back. Stop all the free loading welfare. That would save trillions

      April 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      I'm about to go on my third deployment. I hate war and have seen to much blood, but to assume the shutdown would end war is foolish. They're better ways to deal with this. You good sir are an idiot.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayra

      People like you sound so ignorant on this subject...Think about the military families here that are trying to figure out how to support their own on a week's worth of pay, cause they already made the decision for us. We are only getting paid 650 for this month...Luckily, we have savings, but what about the people in war zones with no means to fix this problem and added stress. Think before you just scream shutdown.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
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