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?

Post by:
Filed under: Budget • Economy • Finance
soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Air Force SSGT

    MILITARY PAY HAS JUST BEEN CUT IN HALF........Most military personnel earn around 25K a year (the majority are newer troops). This is barely enough to live paycheck to paycheck LET ALONE SAVE TO SUSTAIN FOR MONTHS. I feel bad for my young troops who will not be able to pay their bills as most of our banks will not assist in deferring payments. These kids arent going to risk their lives for 12k a year, and honestly...I cannot and will not ask them to.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • texas pete

      And in the meantime, the Congress critters and REMFs are sitting pretty.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    Balancing the Federal Budget

    This is our way of balancing the Federal budget.
    Vote NO to Congressmen who take their Salary during furloughed days!
    This Furloughed day will work better than what we were able to accomplish in Wisconsin, Ohio & hopefully Indiana.
    800,000 workers furloughed
    $15.85 Ave. Govn't Salary per hr
    $507,200,000 saving per week
    1 Trillion savings in 2 weeks

    $174,000 is Congressional Salary per year
    $1,668,493.15 Savings per week
    $3,336,986.30 Savings in 2 weeks
    $1,585,000.00 Savings for office staff

    This is a total of $1.2 Trillion Savings in 2 weeks

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

      You need to learn the difference between billion and trillion.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeramy

    Funny, if i go to work , and become incapable of working with my co-workers, the business does not shut down, i get fired.....oh wait i got the solution!

    April 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Matt A

    I think they should delay welfare benefits from the moochers (not to say some dont "need it"). There are jobs out there to be had its just a matter of what your willing to do for the money. I do not think you should get unemployment benefits or welfare unless you can proove without a shadow of a doubt that you can not find work. People know uncle sam will pick up the bill and they take advantage of the system. I think this country needs needs to realize that the Govt is a business and its loosing money. If a business is losing money or spending more than it takes in – close the doors or cut the spending. Like a good friend of mine once said " if your in a hole you have two choices – keep digging or get out".

    April 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stephen's Son

    "Bankruptcy deferred" ??? This would be an 'upside' ? Not for folks filing bankruptcy, it's wouldn't be. This would mean that they would be at the mercy of their creditors. But we're speaking 'would be' here. Craig Johnson is not much of a journalist. The vast majority of bankruptcy filings nationwide are filed online and court staff do not need to be present for an online filing to stop foreclosure proceedings. Go back to journalism school, Craig Johnson and stop the hyperbole.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kevin

    The FCC won't be around to regulate the radio industry, so the radio stations will be free to crank up the power. That means people who usually get bad signals or are too far out of range could get better radio if they wanted.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt A

    Air Force SSGT

    how was the pay cut in half? I was active duty for 10 years 98-08 and never had my pay go down a penny. I do understand the pay may be delayed (only a few weeks at most). I was an E-1 with a family of 4 – pay check to pay check was a way of life then. It is unfortunate – but you work for a "company", at least your not laid off.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Contractor

    Remember that a lot of civilians support our soldiers with supplies, intelligence, tech services, etc. And yes we are at war in Afghanistan and still have troops in Iraq and elsewhere. Our war fighters have to do without more than just paychecks, they are going to have to fight our enemies without this support.

    If congress had to go without pay, I bet they might act a little faster. And close down their cafeteria too and let them feel the hunger. Its time for term limits and to change as many congresspeople to new ones as we can, of both parties. And elect more independents too.

    Has anyone considered that we are more vulnerable to terrorist attack without the civilian support at places like homeland security and the intelligence agencies?

    April 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    The country will be safer as a result of the government shutdown. No terrorist will be able to get an entry visa from the state department during the shutdown.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    Another plus-we won't have waste time pretending that we care about American values, ideals & goals. (that was irony). When nearly 1 million people are out of work, there is no upside.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. texas pete

    Will the SEC be shutdown?

    April 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • buffalobob

      no one would notice frankly.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • wdrad

      No..the SEC will continue to dominate in all college sports... 🙂

      April 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • vbscript2

      Agreed with wdrad.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ King

      There is NO WAY a shutdown has Silver lining, The GOVT is losing money, we are in debt over our heads. Vacation is NOT the response, WE THE PEOPLE are tired of being disregarded by those powers that lord over us. FREEDOM OF SPEECH; We have gone bankrupt as individuals, unemployed as the masses, and a climbing deficit. The silver lining. Banks got the bailout WHERE IS WE THE PEOPLES AID!?! If you take and divide the 2010 Census Pop by the bailout every American could have bailed our country out far greater then wasteful yacht spending fat cats. If enough of us band together WE THE PEOPLE can change this greed based system, I am Franklin Russell Warren King, of Colorado Springs, CO. Look me up if you feel that this Roman based system is a sinking ship. That we are all going to become very very broke, and we are fighting THREE wars, is it time to pull out and rise up for something new...I think so. FREEDOM TO PROTEST. Let us stand as one, and bring Obama the change he so wanted. Either we are a nation of many nations and we are unified and strong, or we are a series of individuals who enjoy having our rights as free thinking creatures striped away. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO STAND AS ONE AS HANDS ACROSS AMERICA ONCE DID! This is more important then any disease, or rally, or festival, or baseball game or Superbowl...HOW OFTEN DOES YOUR COUNTRY SHUT DOWN!?! Sincerely...One disgruntled American Citizen.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amerifail

      Damn clowns in congress will still get pay

      April 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. paolo

    Belgium has no government and it's been a while too... but guess what!??
    everything is still
    so shut it down !

    April 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • S1N

      It's also extremely run down and trashy, at least in Brussels. I was extremely disappointed my last time there.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • 123

      Brussels? Have you been to Detroit?

      April 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • emma

      so me, a single mother of a 2- and 5-year old should just go on living with no money, just because I happen to work for the Federal government? How does a shutdown feed my kids?

      April 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Brussels trashy? It's also a THOUSAND years old. Have you seen San Francisco lately?

      April 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • paolo

      Idk if Brussels is trashy but if it is it's probably not because of no government, and European towns, overall, always look a bit more trashy than 100 years old american town...

      But, anyway, what's so funny about Belgium, is that life just goes on!! No government for almost a year i believe!!!!
      and it makes you wonder, are government useful nowadays in civilized countries?
      but of course, we can't fully compare USA to Belgium, since USA is at war with 2 countries and lybia, and soldiers do need to get paid...
      so here's another remark, a country at war needs a government, but a country at peace seems to not need one anymore

      April 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Thomas

    I'm just curious, what might happen if ALL OUR SOLDIERS "shut down" until blahshington figures this all out?

    April 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ActnJackson

      They will likely continue to do their duty despite getting gypped on their paycheck.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • a

      Essential workers still work

      April 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • 123

      "Essential workers stil work"... right, they just might not get paid.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2deepinit

      They won't stop fighting, because unlike the pieces of garbage in Washington the men in service will continue to serve. They won't go home and pretend its a vacation. They actually work for their money.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      My friends sister, who is in the Air Force, was told they have to show up or go to jail for going AWOL.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      We'd save billions of dollars a day

      April 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoe

      @Nicole "My friends sister, who is in the Air Force, was told they have to show up or go to jail for going AWOL"

      That's true. I'm in the Air Force and my commander made a point of telling us we're still expected to be at work on Monday, no matter what.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Unknown

      I as a svc member would work with or without pay. I just dont know how long i would last without pay. everything i own would be taken from me and my family would have to live on the street eating out of garbage cans but i would still be fighting for my country every day, whatever the wheather, where every they need me, and whatever the cost even my life. but i do not think that my husband and 1 year old son deserves to go cold and hungry because the higher government cant agree on abortion. if feels wrong.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TIm

    Why, Johnny can't add.
    $507,200,000 saving per week for 2 weeks is $1 billion, not $1 trillion.
    Do it for 2000 weeks (38 years), and you'll get a trillion.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • TripleDigitRide

      Why, Tim can't add, either.

      Do it for 1973 weeks (23.5 years), and you'll get a trillion.

      April 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • jcm52

      Sorry, I'm going to back Tim up. I'll let him get away with rounding. 1973 weeks is just under 38 years (about 37.9). 23.5 years is only 1220 weeks (roughly)

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

      why it took 3 people to get it right...

      Cause its the CNN comment board, only an idiot would post here.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tacitusdominatus


    Every time the government (as in federal) starts threatening to shutdown I get all excited. Not because a shutdown scares me mind you but because then all you clueless taxpayers out there would get to see what you’re actually getting for your hard-earned dollars; which of course is absolutely nothing. Because if they ever did shutdown then the first thing you’d notice is that you’re really not missing anything at all!

    Not to worry though. Like everything else ‘the government’ says these days, it’s just PROMISES, PROMISES!

    Brian Kilcullen

    April 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bella

      Turned down for another govt job?....LOL Give it a rest. Dont be a hater because you cannot be part of the ELITE. If other countries are so much better and were such a joke, feel free to roll out. Leave your FREEDOM at the border.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayZ

      Unless your a national park ranger, then you'll notice what you're not getting.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • wdrad

      Having a government job doesn't really make you elite..I know. But if this is elite status, the rest of this country sure has lots and LOTS of problems.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • jcm52

      according to the American Lung Association the clean air act prevented 160000 deaths last year. Sure you might not notice right away (it would take time for the pollution to ramp up), but that's about 440 deaths a day. But of course, people are trying to get rid of the EPA. Why?

      April 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Camel

      More than 440 people/day die from the effects of smoking, but our government does nothing to put a stop to it (they could outlaw cigarettes like they do for drugs). This is what's wrong with our government – they will fight over 32 billion dollars, and yet do nothing about the trillions they are wasting.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
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