The Shutdown: The Limp Back to Normalcy | DCR Workforce Blog

The Shutdown: The Limp Back to Normalcy

US-ShutdownEver suffered an injury resulting in a hairline fracture, which did not show up in an x-ray and went untreated? All the bandages, pain balms and medication in the world will not help with the recovery until the bone heals.

The economy of our country is in a similar situation, post the damage sustained during the 16-day shutdown which has hurt the economy in various ways. Income to the tune of billions was lost, the stock markets suffered, unemployment increased and the world has come to the conclusion that the USA cannot be allowed to threaten the World’s financial health. Healing will take time and there is no way it can be hurried up or fixed up with the use of a magic wand or super glue!

Moreover, this is just a temporary ceasefire, and will require more negotiations later on, before it is ratified. Unless an agreement is reached soon, the funding of the government will run out by Jan 15, 2014 whereas the debt ceiling is extended up to Feb 7, 2014. So the D-day is only postponed – not really averted!

The Affordable Care Act will now include a proviso which requires a verification of the income of people who receive healthcare subsidies from the government to prevent any fraudulent claims which could have slipped through.  The original language envisaged random checks on a consumer’s self-reported income.

Let us still welcome, if not celebrate this win, which has averted the immediate crisis with the debt ceiling and lifting of the shutdown, allowing the lives of many Americans to return to a semblance of normalcy after 16 days of uncertainty and inaction. Whether the number of furloughed workers stands at 450,000 or 800,000; most government workers will get paid for the days not worked, though it is to be seen when the check would be going out or whether that generosity extends to the companies that downsized in response to the loss of government business.

It will be some time before we can quantify the impact of the shutdown.  In an economy which was struggling to create jobs, the shutdown has hit tourism and all the people who depend on it for income. The lack of access to a range of government services during the past 16 days has affected the hiring plans of companies which needed to verify the legal status of potential workers. The time required for the government to “ramp back up” may extend the furloughs of employees of government contractors.  Early polls indicate that the lack of confidence in the economy will adversely impact the holiday shopping season.  At a global level, many countries are seriously reconsidering their choice of America as the provider of global reserve currency.   And, of course, one can only speculate on whether companies will tighten their belts even further in anticipation of a repeat of the shutdown in January.

This shutdown has not helped the country or its people in any way and actually hurt the image of everyone associated with it. Is there a brighter side to the situation?  All that the press has managed to turn up is a story on how the squirrels in the kitchen garden of the White House could gorge to their fill on the produce, in the absence of the gardeners who were furloughed.

Any policy decisions at this point would have to aim at restoring the faith of the people in its politicians and their ability to put the interests of the common man at the focus of their attention and consideration.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.