U.S. Government shutdown moves into second week

The partial government shutdown, which began at midnight on Oct. 1, is impacting far more than just the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Many St. Louis citizens are among those across the entire country feeling the effect of the partial shutdown.

Many St. Louis citizens working at St. Louis’ most prominent tourist destinations were deemed nonessential employees and furloughed. The affected tourist destinations include the prominent Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse, some of the most visible icons of the city. These monuments are currently closed to visitors, and only a minimum number of employees have been retained at the Gateway Arch, strictly to watch resources at the monument and handle public safety.

The effects of the partial shutdown, however, reach much farther than just national monuments. Many workers at Scott Air Force Base, located east of St. Louis, have been furloughed as part of the partial shutdown. Military personnel at the base will only be paid until Oct. 15, after which they also will receive no pay.

The situation is similar at the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri. The judiciary will remain open until approximately Oct. 15, after which it will be forced to reassess whether the court can remain open.

Many day-to-day activities, however, have not been affected. The United States Postal Service has continued to deliver the mail on time, and security agencies such as the FBI and TSA have continued operations. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport remains open and functioning on a normal schedule.

The effects of the partial shutdown will hit harder the longer the shutdown continues. Businesses that depend on the national monuments or spending from workers that have been furloughed will suffer, and will lose more money the longer the government cannot agree on a budget. However, there is another rapidly approaching deadline that could result in far more dire consequences for the United States.

On Oct. 17, the government will default on its debt if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the amount of money that Congress allows the Treasury to borrow. The effects of a default would affect far more than just the United States. The world economy, which is heavily dependent on the U.S. economy, would be harshly affected. Both economies would face severe financial crises, and the fallout would be much more severe than what was seen following the 2008 financial collapse.

Fortunately, the United States government has never defaulted on its debts, so precedent suggests that the debt ceiling will be raised. However, as the Oct. 17 deadline moves closer, the partial shutdown that is already affecting so many citizens in St. Louis and beyond may be put on the backburner as President Obama and Congress attempt to compromise over raising the debt ceiling.