5 Totally Avoidable Tragedies Caused by the Shutdown

We are now more than a week into the government shutdown — not to mention a week away from the country defaulting on our loans if we don’t raise the debt ceiling – and a resolution is looking less and less likely. That means that unlike earlier, services that had conditional funding or a pool of rainy day funds to work from are beginning to cease operations as their contingency plans stop working.

Now we are seeing the true impact of closing the government. From disease to poverty, it isn’t pretty. Here are five major disasters being caused by the GOP’s unwillingness to admit that the Affordable Care Act is the law and will continue regardless of their strong-arming:

1. People are getting sick. Really sick.

Salmonella outbreaks have become sadly common in the country, especially as regulations around food safety issues get increasingly lax. This latest outbreak, which involves strains that are resistant to antibiotics, has sickened nearly 300 people already, but there hasn’t been enough information yet to send out an alert because too many workers at the CDC were furloughed. Now those workers are being asked to return to work since apparently someone has finally recognized that they really are “essential.”

2. 50,000 poor people have lost access to food.

When many of us started writing about the WIC (Women Infant Children) program being in trouble, we were told we were overreacting. After all, states had extra funds for this sort of thing, so there wasn’t any real danger. But now those funds are drying up. In North Carolina, 20 percent of the state’s 250,000 voucher recipients were told that there wasn’t enough money to go around. Instead, they were referred to food pantries. There is no telling how many other states will soon be forced to follow suit.

3. Welfare payments are in doubt.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) wasn’t supposed to be in jeopardy if a shutdown happened, because states were informed that they would be reimbursed later if they went ahead and made their scheduled payments. But Arizona didn’t believe it and decided not to authorize checks, leaving 5000 residents with no money. The governor changed her mind later and allowed the state to make the payments, but the idea that welfare checks could literally be cancelled at the whim of a governor until the shutdown ends is a terrifying one.

4. Science and medicine are being put on the backburner.

The U.S. Antarctic research program has been cancelled, putting thousands out of work and ending millions of dollars of research in polar science. In the meantime all programs will be on hold and the bases will be kept open just with a skeleton staff. The National Institute of Health is continuing to cancel clinical trials, unable to enroll new patients, which could set back medical science indefinitely as well as sacrifice the health of those who could have been treated if only the funding had continued.

5. Veterans and the families of lost soldiers are suffering.

Death is always a tragedy, and losing a loved one in battle is something few of us will ever have to face. For those who have had a family member die in action recently, that sorrow is now compounded by their inability to receive the $100,000 “death benefit” that usually accompanies such a loss. The funds are usually received within 36 hours, and often allow the families to pay for funerals and other memorial expenses. Sadly, for the five families who had service members killed in Afghanistan, those funds won’t be coming.

It’s not just the fallen, either. If the shutdown isn’t resolved in the next three weeks, millions of veterans will lose their benefits, including the 300,000 retired military personnel and 200,000 military spouses who will lose their pension payments.


All of these issues could easily be avoided if the GOP would stop holding the government hostage, especially since they are fighting to deny the American people the right to access affordable health care.

Photo credits: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for the article.

Mary L.
Mary L.2 years ago

I also read that states that run red are howling about the government not keeping national parks open. They seem to be outraged at the idea, Arizona, that the feds are keeping their tourist forking over bucks.

Funny. Wonder if Brewer is shaking her finger in the mirror now?

Nah, too self deluded for that.

Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado2 years ago

Thank you

Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Everybody should be benefited

Charles S.
Charles S.2 years ago

David F, Social security is not an investment plan or personal account. I believe the correct name is The Old Age And Survivors Insurance. It is an insurance whereby a person will have some income until the day he dies, and income for a surviving spouse. It is a lifesaver for the majority of Americans.

Susan T.
Susan Tamanaha2 years ago

First, to those sending me messages and stars, I thank you here because Care2 is no longer allowing new email accounts to be established.

Second, to add to Dennis D's last post, Boehner was the one who tried to oust Newt Gingrich from the Speaker position. He failed, which is perhaps where he learned how hard it is to remove someone from that position.

Third, is David for real or just a troll who enjoys getting everyone worked up?

Dennis D.
Dennis D.2 years ago

David F.
4:23PM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

Denis your right, the Republicans will not put up with some one cheating on their wife, they’ll kick them out. With the Dims , it seems to be a requirement for office.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/5-totally-avoidable-tragedies-caused-by-the-shutdown.html#ixzz2heHmfHV0
PSSSTT David the affair did not come to light till years afterwards.. No one knew..

He was ran out because shutting down the government and wasting time and effort on an impeachment that was not not going to to happen.

No matter how you spin this David your republican tea party collective feet were held to the fire then. just as the republican/tea party is going to have their feet held to that same fire again.. only this time it will be 5 years of watching your party playing brinkmanship with the economy.

My personal opinion and hope that when the dust settles that the tea party will be gone. That either the republican party will be most chastised at the polls as to never try this stupidity again. Failing that. New parties come in to their own. In which case I will be happy to see the end of the republican party that was not able to learn the lessons of the past.

David F.
David F.2 years ago

Brian again, Number one thing that worked for Bill Clinton; GHW Bush made the last payment for the S & L bailout. So Clinton had 260 billion dollars to play with on his first budget.
Second thing; Clinton refinanced the debt with short term (lower interest, higher risk) bonds. It was a paper work trick that made the deficit smaller by billons but could blow up if interest rates went up. No rational president has done that. Of course Clinton financed things until 2001 so he won't take any blame if it blew up.
Third; Clinton said that the deficit might be able to be brought under control in 10 years, then 7 years. The GOP took over the congress in 1995 and the budget was balanced on paper in two years. Congress balanced the budget and not Clinton. Similar to when the GOP reformed welfare, Clinton vetoed the bill twice and announced that he would do it again. His advisors told him just before the dem convention in 1996 that the people wanted the reform passed. Clinton signed and publicly said that he would "fix it" next year. He never revisited the issue and it worked. He took credit for the reform after 1998.

David F.
David F.2 years ago

Denis your right, the Republicans will not put up with some one cheating on their wife, they’ll kick them out. With the Dims , it seems to be a requirement for office.

Mary B.
Mary B.2 years ago

David F..... You're right....there are intelligent people reading these posts but you don't seem to be one of them......Canadians know more about what's happening in the US than you seem to.......I feel sorry for you if you actually believe what you post.