And the Congressional game of chicken continues. Only instead of playing chicken in their dad’s convertible while smoking cigarettes like a bunch of badass Keifer Sutherlands, they’re playing chicken in the car that belongs to their best friend’s single mom who works two jobs and clips coupons to support her kids.
The people who will be affected by the imminent government shutdown are government employees—all 3.3 million of them—who are probably already struggling to pay their mortgages. Those deemed nonessential will be furloughed until somebody pushes the green button to restart the government machine. The essential employees, such as air traffic controllers or those in the military, will have it even worse. They’ll actually have to keep showing up and working without pay (they’ll be paid later, but the process can take months).
In addition to not being allowed to work or make money or, you know…feed their kids…non-essential employees will also be forced to hand over their smartphones.
In a memo issued last week by the Office of Management and Budget, furloughed employees are prohibited from doing any work, which includes work done remotely by smartphone or “remote computer connections.”
The sticky matter of how to enforce the restrictions is up to each individual agency, according to the memo. But the Washington Post reports that many non-essential employees will have to turn in their government-issued smartphones during a brief four-hour shift on Tuesday, during which time they’ll have to try to get their loose ends tied up.
“Orderly shutdown procedures should not rely on mobile devices or home access to work email for providing notices of when to return to work,” the memo notes.
Confiscated smartphones isn’t the only impact the shutdown will have on technology. Many government websites will likely shut down as well, as there won’t be any personnel around to keep them running. Websites will be shut down even if the cost of shutting them down exceeds the cost of paying people to keep them up. SERIOUSLY.
The whole shutdown all hinges on the Affordable Care Act. Starting tomorrow, all Americans will be able to go to the website Healthcare.gov to choose a health insurance plan. Sooo, presumably that website will still be up and running…
Naturally, essential employees will be able to keep their smartphones and continue running their websites.
As President Obama noted in a televised address Monday afternoon, “The Federal government is still America’s biggest employer,” so a shutdown will have far reaching consequences for all. (Those of us who were unfortunate enough to plan our vacations to a national park this month will be SOL.)
But if you’re still interested in paying back taxes, never you fear, for the IRS website will still be operational for those who want to continue paying the government.
Image source: housingworks.org