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 years ago

thanks for the article.

Mary L.
Mary L5 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
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you

Fi T.
Past Member 5 years ago

Everybody should be benefited

Charles S.
Charles S5 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 Tamanaha5 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.
Past Member 5 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.

Mary B.
Mary B5 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.

Dennis D.
Past Member 5 years ago

David I owe you small correction. newt did lose his election bid for his seat.. nope it was a lot worse.. I had to dig around for this.. but all the news reports were about this way..


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Nov. 6) -- Faced with a brewing rebellion within the Republican Party over the disappointing midterm election, House Speaker Newt Gingrich made the stunning decision Friday to step down not just from the speakership but also from Congress.

"Newt Gingrich's resignation as speaker was the aftershock from last Tuesday's political earthquake," he said. "The American people sent a strong message that the Republican Congress was a failure -- that its leadership didn't address the issues they cared about. The speaker's resignation is the reaction to that message."

Earlier Friday, Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent announced he is seeking to replace House Majority Leader Dick Armey in the No. 2 House leadership post.

"On November 3rd the Republican Party hit an iceberg. And I think the question that is before our conference today is whether we retain the crew of the Titanic," said Largent, an ex-pro football player and member of the Hall of Fame."

This what it will look like after the coming elections.Nothing kind or polite.. Your party is going to hit an ice berg.

Brian Foster
Brian F5 years ago

David F Clinton left a surplus for the moron Bush, when he left office. The moron Bush squandered the surplus, cut taxes for the rich, and got us into to unpaid for wars based on lies. The moron Bush spent like their was no tomorrow, spending 2 billion a week for 8 years in Iraq, running up the nation's debt. Spending money, we didn't have, and plunging us into massive debt. The moron Bush left Obama with a 10.7 trillion dollar debt. Mission accomplished. The nation has been destroyed, left with an astronomical debt that can never be paid back, 10.7 trillion dollars, two wars that are based on lies, and tax cuts for the rich, that further add to the poverty of the 98%.

The democrats voted for the war because they believed the lies and faulty evidence that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction. It wasn't Colin Powell's fault because he got his evidence from the moron Bush. Many democrats tried to end the insane war, that was based on lies in Iraq, but they were called cut and run cowards by republicans.

Today, in addition to our 17 trillion dollar debt, we have the biggest disparity in wealth since the Great Depression. The richest 2% control 80% of the nation's wealth. Thanks to the GOP, that has done nothing, but destroy America, and serve their corporate masters, to include the billionaire Koch brothers.