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. Sabrina

    This makes me sick! I have a brother in law over seas fighting for us with his wife MY SISTER an their 4 kids at home. You wanna take away their pay? Why? Because your a greedy selfish basterd? Dont you think you have screwed us enough. Your families are not suffering nor will they cuz your pockets get fatter by the minute! You suck at doing your jobs. You have no respect for the people out there fighting for us. If you ask me all you greedy selfish disrespectful douch bags should be out there with out pay! You suck!

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

      Why would anyone want 4 kids in the shape this country is in is beyond me.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      No one is taking away their pay. They will get backpay once an appropriation is passed.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • texas pete

      Then I propose you come work for me, I will pay you back in 2 months for the work you did.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CAW

    ALL MILITARY PEOPLE WILL BE PAID. They will be paid every cent that is due to them. As I said in an earlier post, the pay will just be delayed until the appropriations bill is passed. I know bills are due, but maybe we should not only call upon congress to get the heads out of their collective rears, but to corporations to help those who will have their paychecks delayed. Maybe Comcast, Sprint, Time Warner, Verizon and such can reach out to their customers and say, "We know your pay is postponed and we understand. You can defer payment until your get paid."

    April 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheKillingWords

      It shouldn't even be a debate as to whether or not soldiers get their pay on time or at all. They are out there putting themselves at risk everyday for all Americans to live the way we choose and the congress has the audacity to delay or withhold what is due them?? As for corporations, while I don't agree with their business practices, they shouldn't have to answer for the government's foul ups. If they allow extended payments for soldiers during this time, and I hope they do, a big thanks should go to them. But the government, who put their own people in this position, should be held accountable for their misdeeds, not have the buck passed to others.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slynn

      Yes all military will get paid. Eventually. And we all know how kind major corporations are. They don't really care just about money. It's the customer that counts. Plus I'm sure the local grocery store will take an IOU with an indefinate date.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Well the Military will be paid. Alright lets go with that. Lets say they get paid next month. What about the bills that are due this month for our young warriors. Lets look at the big picture. Now the Leaders in the Army have to deal with companies complaining that they did not get their money. If you don't think they don't complain then you are wrong. Lets now take a look at the Soldier's credit report. I have said it for many years that there is no one in Washington that cares about about the Soldier and they never will.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      You're missing the point. No corporation is going to care whether or not people can pay bills. It's gonna affect their credit scores if they can't pay on even smaller budgets that are already strained. You're also missing the fact that even though they will get paid eventually, i'm sure most families plan budgets on a full paycheck, not half.
      Before you say that they should have planned for the future: it's hard to plan for the future in the military when the military is basically a transient life and they don't even know where they're sending you next and the moving expenses related to that.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kismet01


    You're correct....just a call from my son (3 tours in Iraq) He's just received half-pay....and no explanation. Called to confirm that the Bank of Dad was still open for business.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dc

    Dear Govt. (dont care repukes or democraps),

    Please return me all the money I've paid so far for
    – Social Security
    – Medicare, and
    – Medicaid

    With the return, I agree to cease of all my rights to state funded systems. Listen, I do not even want you to pay me years worth of interest on all the money that I paid.

    Just return me my money back and I will take care of everything myself. After years of allowing insurance industry to spiral out of hands, and health care screwed, I'd rather have my money in my hand than my money in your wallet OR with big corporations.

    Please return my money back.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ben

    Every politician in the USA right now are negligent. Every member of Congress, every member of the Senate, and the President are guilty of political sabotage for party agendas. You are a disgrace to this nation. The people of the USA should launch a campaign to promote that not one of you be re elected. NO RE ELECTION, period. Get out.
    This government shutdown only hurts our country, there is no UPSIDE. What, prove a point? That's a very dangerous game to play with our country. VOTE THEM OUT NEXT ELECTION OPPORTUNITY!

    April 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pjh_canuck

    Support our troops, how many times have were heard our politicians expound upon these words. Now with so many members of our military in harms way we support them by withholding their eared wages. They are faced with endless hardship, some is hostile environments, this is how we repay them, do they now need to also worry about their families. The truth now avails itself, these morons on Capital Hill care only for themselves and their associated self interests. Every member of the miliary needs to step back and evaluate if this is what America has become and stands for.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. William Cruz

    I just read through a few of the comments. I, myself, am an American Airmen in the USAF. I'm not sure how it will work for the civilians, but us military personnel have only an opinion and have to put up with it regardless.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |

    Senator Al Franken has proposed a "Pay for War" resolution that would require Congress to raise taxes and/or cut spending before authorizing new acts of war, so that American foreign adventures can't contribute to the national debt.

    "We have to ensure that Iraq and Afghanistan remain anomalies in American history," Franken said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "And that's what my resolution seeks to do. It will ensure that future wars don't make our deficit and debt problem worse. It will ensure that Congress and American citizens must face the financial sacrifice of going to war. And it will force us to decide whether a war is worth that sacrifice."
    "In the last ten years our wars have been paid for by borrowing," Franken said. "The Iraq War was accompanied by a massive tax cut. That failed fiscal experiment created the impression that war requires no financial sacrifice. We know that is just not true. The question is who will bear the financial sacrifice, the generation that has decided to go to war or its children and grandchildren?"

    April 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Cannuck

      That wouldn't do much seeing as Congress has not approved an act of war since WW2. Every other millitary engagement has been done without the approval of congress..... which is a big part of the problem. Americans, Congress is YOUR voice, not the government's voice.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. a disaster!

    until obama can be removed from office the next best thing is to shut down the government and end his incredible spending.....

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

      Yeah because Republicans don't spend and give corporate breaks. Get a brain!

      April 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fishfry001

    Man – I'm heading to Arkansas!!!

    April 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Guest

    This article is insulting – the shutdown brings serious consequences to many hardworking families, and they try to console us with this list of "upsides"? Disgusting.

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

      I agree. My husband is in the Army and if he doesn't get paid, we can't pay our bills. there is no upside.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael0075

      CNN is being sarcastic with this article to prove a simple point, that there realy isn't an upside at all. Yes I agree that the article is tasteless, but in context it makes a good point. If I was the editor in charge however, I would have made certain that it was made clear that this article was intended as satirical and not to be taken seriously.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NOLA Gal

    No parking tickets in DC!!! It'll be a free for all with parking. No pesky meter maids to ruin your day.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rhonda

    I am a single mother of two, in the military and live pay check to pay check because I make less than my counterparts in the civilian world. I have been to Iraq and choose to service my country instead of focusing on money. I do this as an example to my children and my love of this country. To those of you who say shut down the government than you go to war and fight without pay!!! I earned my paycheck and so have my brothers and sisters in arms. We are already dealing with military downsizing, watching our friend getting kicked out left and right. Wondering who is next and now this. How much stress are we willing to put on our military familys???

    April 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • razzledobe

      My DH is an E-6 in the military and congress has already passed a bill that will pay the military if a shut down happens. Unfortunately, Obama has said if that happens and the bill comes to his desk he will veto it. We have our commander in chief to thank for that.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayra

      Check with your bank. Just found out some banks are doubling what you would get paid (on the 15th)in case the shutdown happens and the take their money once we get paid back.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Charlie

    How about that people learn that lately this only happens when there's a democrat in the White House?

    April 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ben

    Shutting down the government only hurts the people of the country, not the politician. Its their game plan. They get paid, they don't need government services, they don't care. VOTE THEM OUT NEXT OPPORTUNITY! Every last one of them from the President on down, regardless of party, vote them OUT.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
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