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United States Government The Almighty Buck Politics

Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You? 1144

Posted by timothy
from the cold-turkey-is-delicious dept.
The partial government shut-down that the U.S. is experiencing right now is about to enter its second week. Various government functions and services have been disrupted (including some web sites, whether it's a good idea or not), and lots of workers on the Federal payroll have been furloughed. But since the U.S. government is involved in so many aspects of modern American life, you don't have to work for the government to be affected by the budget politics at play. So, whether or not you work for the government in any capacity, the question we'd like to hear your answer to is this: What does the shutdown mean to you, in practical terms, whether the effects are good, bad, or indifferent?
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Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

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  • Re:How I see it... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 06, 2013 @07:01PM (#45054075)

    FYI, the Republicans in the house passed FOUR funding bills before the shutdown, which allocated more money than was spent last year. The ball's in the democrat's court.

  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @07:10PM (#45054153)

    Obamacare was already voted by the representatives of the people. Refusing to fund it is ignoring the will of the people.

    The monopoly on origination of spending&taxing bills has also been recently abused in the UK by the Commons to stop measures which the one house doesn't like. It's a corruption which could ultimately be used to override nearly any law, because 1) Nearly every measure costs money; 2) the House could just refuse to budget for *anything* in particular until *any* law it doesn't like is repealed.

  • Re:How I see it... (Score:2, Informative)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @07:16PM (#45054185)

    and the democrats are also feeding the fat cats. Medicare actuaries say "obamacare" will RAISE the health care costs for average family of four by over $7K from 2014 to 2022. quite a bit different from Honest Obe's lie of saving $2500 per year, isn't it?

    Therefore, I have no problem with some theatrics, so it is clear who supported this healthcare fiasco which will go down in flames. the Republicans are going down in flames for their past actions, now let's let the Democrats self-destruct. we need a reset

  • by hey! (33014) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @07:19PM (#45054215) Homepage Journal

    Since congress already voted to pay all furloughed workers for the days they missed, what is exactly the point of not having them come into work anymore?

    Er... have you been reading the news haven't you? OK, I'll explain.

    It's never been about saving money. The GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but doesn't have the votes in the Senate to do it, much less override the veto that would inevitably provoke.

    So plan B was to take funding for implementing ACA out of the budget. But they don't have the votes to do that either.

    Now when you are arguing over the budget, you still have to keep things running; soldiers and air traffic controllers have to be paid. But the president doesn't have the constitutional power to spend money; he has to spend what Congress tells him to spend, neither more nor less (a lot of Americans don't seem to understand this). He has a lot of influence over the budget, but ultimately Congress has the power of the purse.

    So what Congress does when it can't resolve its budget differences on time is pass something called a "continuing resolution". It pretty much says "continue on as you were under the last budget for so many days or until we hash this out." Congress is behind on its budget work so, it's time for a continuing resolution.

    What the House Republicans tried to do was slip the budget stuff they didn't have the votes to pass into the continuing resolution. When the Senate stripped that stuff out and sent the CR back to the House, the Republican leadership refused to bring the CR to a vote until their demands were met. Those demands have been a moving target, running from a long laundry list of priorities (including stuff like the Keystone pipeline), to anything that will allow them to claim victory. Boehner has also floated a cut of a certain size to yet-to-be-named budget items as a condition, but this was precisely the gambit that was tried in 2011. Those cuts never materialized, triggering the sequestration cuts across the board this year, including defense. That's not very credible. So the only way the House Republicans come out of this with something that looks like a victory would be to get ACA de-funded, which is not going to happen.

    The House Republicans are technically within their rights not to bring an continuing resolution to the floor, but they're using it to undermine the Constitution. They don't have the votes to get what they want, nor have they anything offer in exchange that will persuade anyone else to vote with them, so they're trying to *compel* the Senate to vote the way they want by shutting down the government.

    Honestly, it feels like final years of the Roman Republic, when wealthy, ambitious men competed to carve power bases for themselves out of what had been offices of service to the Republic. Crassus Boehner, anyone?

    Now they basically get a free paid vacation. If the taxpayer is on the hook for their salaries, they should be doing their jobs.

    I agree with you. They should be back at their jobs, and being paid on payday as usual (you do know that essential employees aren't getting paid). But that's not going to happen until one side or another cracks under the political pressure. Already the US Chamber of Commerce is wading in with promises of primary support to Republicans who vote for a clean CR.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 06, 2013 @07:20PM (#45054221)

    Those of us who are funded at least partly by NSF grants are potentially in trouble. For people who have money in their account from an active grant that will last a few months - all the better. For those whose paycheck depends on the next installment from a grant, tough luck. The worst affected will be folks who had payments and grant reviews in progress.

    More info @ http://www.nsf.gov./ [www.nsf.gov] The most relevant portions:

    Payments: No payments will be made during the shutdown.
    Issuance of New Grants and Cooperative Agreements: No new grants or cooperative agreements will be awarded.

  • Re:How I see it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 06, 2013 @07:34PM (#45054305)

    FYI, the Republicans in the house passed FOUR funding bills before the shutdown, which allocated more money than was spent last year. The ball's in the democrat's court.

    The Republicans rejected 18 requests to discuss the budget. The Democrats compromised to fund the govt. at sequester levels. Shutting down the government or making it default is not the way to fight a constitutional law. Back to you Republicans.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @07:53PM (#45054461)

    In most states you only get to redraw the district boundaries if your party is in the majority at the state level. So you care in effect complaining that Republicans are winning at the national level because Republicans are winning at the state level.

    Besides that, there is no "popular vote" for House elections. Each vote is district by district. Excess votes in one district have no meaning in another. Excess votes in one state have no meaning in another. The Republicans have a majority in the House, period. They haven't lost any non-existent "popular vote."

    As to shutdowns, the Republicans are still playing catch up.

    When Tip Did It - Tip O’Neill presided over two-thirds of the government shutdowns since 1976 [nationalreview.com]

    Most shutdowns have resulted in budget concessions.

  • Re:How I see it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by sycodon (149926) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @08:03PM (#45054553)

    The Dems rejected out of hand 4 budget bills since Obama took over and the last one they gutted and sent back knowing it didn't stand a chance. The Dems wanted a continuing resolution that keeps spending levels where they are. Now, the House is passing smaller, targeted spending bills that make the things this guy s talking about unnecessary. Dem don't care about them, they care about their spending priorities, which are enshrined in the continuing resolutions.

    Back to you Democrats. Whay are your spending priorities more important than funding the government.

    Don't forget, it's the prerogative of the House to deciding spending levels.

  • by cyberfringe (641163) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @08:16PM (#45054669) Journal
    My colleagues and I work at a non-profit research institute affiliated with the State of Florida university system. We just do research. No students, no classes. It's all soft money and the vast majority of our funding, maybe 90%, comes as contracts and grants from Federal agencies. There are two huge problems that are hurting us right now. First, if the government cannot make the incremental payments to us on existing grants or contracts, then we don't get paid. That is happening right now. Not only are we not hiring, people are taking salary cuts or going to half time or worse. The payments from the government come at different times throughout the year and are different depending on the grant and the agency, so it is not a issue of the lights suddenly getting turned off. But the impact, however incremental, is very real and it is NOW. I have enough cash on hand from my largest existing grant to keep myself and my group going through December maybe. That brings up the second problem, which is the whole proposal process. Continuity in our research projects requires that we are always in "proposal mode." Grants and contracts are for limited amounts for limited duration. It can take a long time and a lot of effort to get funded since the level of competition is very high. (Competition is ok - I welcome being pushed to do my best.) Right now I have proposals and white papers and discussions with program managers that are all in limbo - and the clock is ticking. Even if they are approved, it will take many months, maybe half a year, to receive the first increment of funding. What's more, the tendency of program managers when they are uncertain about the funds available to their program is to be VERY conservative about making new commitments, regardless of proposal quality. They are also really p.o. 'ed about being furloughed and this makes them surly. In such circumstances, it is difficult to talk about research continuity.
  • by khallow (566160) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @08:33PM (#45054811)

    ACA was passed in the house, passed in the senate

    Different versions were passed in each branch. The House one was modified under rules that only applied for modifying budget numbers to agree with the senate. They needed to do this because they were about to lose their filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate.

    Then the president signed it.

    Then two different provisions were found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. One was upheld and the other not. And the court, despite a lack of authority to drop pieces of law from a bill without a severability clause, proceeded to do so.

    So sure, it is a de facto law since none of the powers that be are contesting it. But I doubt, if there was a stronger respect for law in any of the three branches of the federal government, that it would be.

  • by cyberfringe (641163) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @08:42PM (#45054877) Journal
    The are many government agencies that fund basic and applied research. NSF is the flagship, but the others are no small potatoes either. I am precisely in the situation you describe, along with many colleagues. Even if they resolve everything tomorrow and play nicely together from now on, the impact on on-going research is huge. People don't realize the importance of federal support for scientific research.
  • by raymorris (2726007) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @08:44PM (#45054899)

    Someone "decided to wait until the last minute".
    The Republicans passed theirs March 21st 2013, seven months ago. That's before Obama submitted his proposal.

    Obama keeps submitting proposals so bad that not a single DEMOCRAT will vote for them. Think about that. Not one member of his own party will put their name on the crap Obama has been submitting since he took office. I dont recall if any of his five annual budget proposals got even one vote of support - I do recall that at least two or three years he couldn't get even one junior house member to sign on to his crap.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @09:13PM (#45055107)
    You mean the tax cut that Barack Obama just made permanent? That one? I got some news. The tax cut happened in 2001. The tax rates have been in effect since then, or 12 years. More than a decade. Newt Gingrich was speaker of the house when we balanced the budget. Spending and taxes originate in the House, and no matter how much Barack Obama wants it to be true, they will never originate in the White House.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @09:53PM (#45055379)
    See, the trouble with your BS assertion is that it's so easy to google [wonkette.com] "7450 Affordable Care Act" and find all the articles disproving it...

    Oh, and the PDF you're linking to says nothing about the cost for a family of 4. It's just talking about lower overall health spending. Are you an Astro turfer or do you just not research your sources?
  • Re:Liberal strategy (Score:5, Informative)

    by samkass (174571) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @09:56PM (#45055391) Homepage Journal

    What you are seeing is the liberal's strategy for staying in power. Get as many people as possible dependent on the government. Then nobody dare oppose them or they will threaten to take away the government teat like what is happening right now. Obamacare is their attempt to get the majority of the population dependent on government for medical care. Imagine the power they will wield when they can threaten to shut down the government and take away your health care.

    Every point in your post is the complete opposite of the truth. It's the Republicans who repeatedly threaten to take away the Government when they don't get concession on top of concession. And most of the safety net programs are designed to keep you from becoming destitute and therefore remain employable instead of becoming a social burden. And the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not Government health care; It's the opposite of that. You are required to take responsibility for yourself and get yourself insured so we don't have to pay for you when things go wrong, but beyond that it's up to you to make a deal with your own private insurer. They even provide an online free market system in which to do it. It's a Conservative wet dream, but they can't let Obama get credit for it. That's why they have no plan themselves, just repeal and go back to the old system.

    So now they're demanding we bring back pre-existing conditions, re-enstate lifetime insurance caps, make it harder for low-income and working class women to control their fertility, make us pay for some uninsured YOLO's emergency room visit, keep graduate students or people starting their career from staying on previous insurance while they're getting on their feet, eliminate preventive care for diabetics and other high-risk individuals forcing them to go to the emergency room when things get bad, eliminate vaccination programs, allow insurers to raise rates to increase their profits arbitrarily, prevent individuals starting businesses to self-insure in an open competitive marketplaces or else they'll shut down the Government, refuse to negotiate a budget, and default on the debt. Yeah. That makes sense.

  • Re: Liberal strategy (Score:3, Informative)

    by JWW (79176) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @09:57PM (#45055399)

    I'm really having a hard time lately with people arguing that the government should be doing Christian things like help the poor.

    It could prove to us that it's worthy of taking our money to help the poor when it stops monitoring everything on the internet, tracking all our cell phone calls, and randomly bombing people to death in countries we are not at war with.

  • Re:How I see it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @09:59PM (#45055411)

    Remember the Ryan budget plan that was dismissed because it was so extreme? Due to sequestration, we're actually cutting discretionary spending now at a FASTER rate than the Ryan plan proposed. So we've got more budget discipline than the Republicans initially proposed (without raising taxes).

    But after failing 41 times to repeal a law that has already passed and been reviewed by the Supreme Court, they are now holding the entire budget hostage. Oh, they're willing to pass a few things that their constitutents like the most, but they're goal is to basically burn everything else until Obama caves.

    And don't forget, the majority of the House would very likely vote to pass a CR if it were put to a vote. However, the House is operating under the Hastert Rule. That means it's just a majority of Replubicans blocking this vote. It's a procedural trick that has allowed an extremist faction of one party to hold the entire House hostage.

  • Re:Liberal strategy (Score:5, Informative)

    by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Sunday October 06, 2013 @10:09PM (#45055477) Homepage

    Yeah, it doesn't work that way here. There is no mechanism to force a non-scheduled election of Senators and Representatives. Right now there is no authority for certain departments that run off of a budget (we have plenty that don't -- Medicare and Social Security, for instance) to spend any money. This can theoretically continue indefinitely. Also in our system, the lower house must originate spending bills, but the upper house has equal rights to amend those bills.

    The more interesting crisis is the debt ceiling vote coming up. It used to be that every time Congress would need to issue debt, they'd do it "manually" by voting to do so. When that became too cumbersome, they put in place a limit to how much debt the Treasury could issue. From time to time when tax revenue is less than spending, they have to vote to raise that limit or else we are in default.

    It's an odd situation. Congress says $X must be spent on Y, but less than $X comes in via revenue, but they also say that no debt can be issued to make up the shortfall. It's contradictory instructions, and I believe we're alone in the civilized world in this regard.

  • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @10:18PM (#45055535)
    The shut down will end up costing MORE money then just passing a Budget.
  • Re:How I see it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @10:18PM (#45055537)

    So which is it? Are you too stupid to figure this out for yourself? Or are you a liar, intending to deceive the people reading this site?

    Well, there's three kinds of lies; Lies, damned lies, and statistics. You can quote yours, he can quote his, and nobody will be any better informed when you two are done pissing in the wind while yelling at each other.

    On a very basic level, Obamacare supporters have the position that poor people, who don't have enough money to afford health care, should be forced into buying health care plus the costs of program administration overhead from the government. On it's face, it seems pretty obvious this will mean that people will be worse off; If they couldn't afford it before, how are they going to afford it now?

    The flip of this is though that health care costs aren't a simple x + y = z equation. The reason a lot of health care is so high is because people are uninsured or underinsured and so they only go to the hospital when the symptoms become severe enough to qualify as an emergency. Emergency room visits aren't just expensive because of labor and resource costs... they're expensive because you have to have enough spare capacity to handle the very worst case scenario -- in other words, you're paying for excess capacity to have a safety margin. And many of those visits wouldn't be necessary if people were having proper, planned, preventative care instead.

    If people could go to the doctor whenever they needed to, on a flat rate system (not per visit, not with deductibles, not with all this complicated bullshit), you'd probably see costs drop off by a significant portion. Obamacare may accomplish this change in patient behavior. If it does... the aggregate healthcare costs will drop.

    The second part of the equation, and the part Obamacare doesn't address, is that the current system we have with health insurance, auditing, billing records -- an absolutely massive and complex system that covers up a lot of flaws and makes investigation incredibly time consuming and difficult to the point you need a forensic accountant to break down the average person's bill, means that the administrative costs make up a huge portion of health care. Do you really think it costs $250 to run a urinalysis? Or to do bloodwork? No, it doesn't. The supplies and labor is much less than that. But because of a massive billing system, combined with over a dozen layers of auditing and reporting, means that administrative costs take a big bite out.

    It is this second problem that will get worse under Obamacare. How much worse, we won't know until the system is deployed, and the initial kinks worked out so we have a stable baseline to draw comparisons from (You never judge a system based on it's initial performance -- there will be lots of bugs and training costs up front that simply can't be anticipated. You have to look at it once it enters the maintenance phase to evaluate the true cost of it correctly).

    As you can see, the problem is much more complex than just pulling some numbers out your ass (You, and Forbes magazine, both guilty as charged). We don't have the numbers yet to know whether this is going to save money, or cost money.

    All we can really debate at this moment in time is the ethics of having a national healthcare system. For my part; I think it's long overdue. We need it. I'm not sure this is the best implimentation, but... whether it succeeds or fails, it will tell us a lot about what we need to know to make better decisions about health care as a country down the line. It is a good experiment. It should be carried out without delay, and the results published.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @11:02PM (#45055759) Journal

    Which statement of the GP's is "just plain wrong",

    Well:

    "Obamacare is their attempt to get the majority of the population dependent on government for medical care."

    Since the vast majority of people will continue to pay unsubsidized price of their health insurance to private companies, there is no possible way this statement, which is the crux of his entire statement, can possibly be true.

    "Get as many people as possible dependent on the government. Then nobody dare oppose them"

    The federal programs instituted by FDR have been around for about 70 years now, and Democrats have most definitely NOT stayed in power that whole time. Even if there was the slightest bit of truth to this claim, all the Republicans have to do is promise not to take away Obamacare, and they're right back on-par with Democrats, aren't they? Besides, Republicans are facing a demographic shift that is promising to make them non-viable in national politics in just a decade or so, meaning Democrats don't have to do ANYTHING to undermine them. The Republicans have done a superb job undermining themselves.

    "What you are seeing is the liberal's strategy for staying in power."

    In fact Obamacare was terribly unpopular, and numerous Democratic senators lost their seats specifically because they voted for it. They must have voted for it for other reasons than political expediency.

    "Imagine the power they will wield when they can threaten to shut down the government and take away your health care."

    Except it's always Republicans threatening to shut down the government, and taking away or "privatizing" government services.

    Every single sentence in his post is quite easily provably factually incorrect. And the implication of some vast, sinister conspiracy makes it troll/flamebait.

  • Re: Liberal strategy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 06, 2013 @11:10PM (#45055801)

    >The "liberals" didn't shut down the government.
    >Actually, they did. The (conservative) House passed a budget; the (liberal) Senate didn't. The (liberal) >President stated he wouldn't sign it.

    Actually, you're mistaken. The House passed a budget a loong time ago, and the Senate passed their budget back in April, I believe. Regular order calls for the two houses to form a conference committee to iron out the differences. But that didn't happen. Care to guess why? The Republican House *refused* to appoint members, let's see, I think it was on eighteen separate occasions over a six month period. Care to guess why they never filled conference committee seats? Because they didn't have enough leverage to extract all of their wish list from the Democrats. So they delayed until they could create a crisis and use threats to extort what they couldn't get through the normal legislative process. And THAT'S why we now have this Charlie Foxtrot of a budget mess.

    Oh yeah, also, the RWNJ were extremely busy trying over and over and over again to repeal the ACA. Much, much too busy to waste time on a mundane item like a budget.

    And don't forget that Michelle Bachman is telling the world how excited she is about the shutdown - I believe she said "It's exactly what we wanted."

    But feel free to waste your time trying to shift the blame.

  • by guruevi (827432) <evi AT smokingcube DOT be> on Sunday October 06, 2013 @11:13PM (#45055821) Homepage

    I'm in that category. Even though the existing grants are paid out and I will (for now) get my salary, I can't spend certain funds even though I "have" them, new research is going to be seriously hampered and this month may push back important research as much as a year (as well as continuing costs for repairs and data storage etc) if the new funding models they agree upon won't cut anything (usually in these crises the science gets defunded while the defense gets funded). Future data storage costs are going to be covered by emergency funding but if I didn't have it, there would be serious risk of significant data loss.

  • by bieber (998013) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @11:35PM (#45055923)

    This is all for show. The government quite literally prints money. They don't need a budget, they don't need dept. All of the money they bailed out the banks with was quite literally created out of thin air.

    Gotta love getting modded up for repeating complete nonsense. In theory, yes, the government can just "print more money," but they still couldn't legally spend any of it without a budget in place. And of course in reality they can't actually do that because it would completely destroy the value of the dollar...and as a consequence our economy as well. The government introduces more currency to keep the pool of available currency more or less consistent with the amount of goods and services available in the economy (which you may be surprised to know increases every year) and give people some incentive to keep money moving around instead of just hoarding it all to profit from deflation, rendering our currency useless as a medium of exchange. Believe it or not, there's a lot more to fiscal policy than just "lol why don't they just print more money amirite?"

  • Re:How I see it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday October 06, 2013 @11:52PM (#45055965)

    I would say, if they had a majority in one of the houses of Congress, and they felt those issues to be this important, then there would clearly be a need to negotiate.

    Do you really not see what's going on? There is no negotiation. Negotiation means I give up something, you give up something, and we meet somewhere in the middle. The Republicans are saying "Do what we want, or else." They aren't giving up anything. They just have a list of demands, and they'll hurt the entire country until they get their way.

    You've heard the poem about why would should never pay the Danegeld, right?

    And by the way, the Democrats TRIED to negotiate on healthcare. They spent months negotiating. The entire plan is modeled on a Republican idea. But the Republicans declared that they would "make it Obama's Waterloo". That they would not give an inch, no matter what, as a political strategy.

    It's fascinating that people can forget such recent history. I suspect it's why things have gotten so bad.

  • by lordofthechia (598872) on Monday October 07, 2013 @01:19AM (#45056251)

    Once most people are buying insurance through Obamacare

    ... You do realize there is no insurance plan that is "Obamacare". The public option was nixed in the Senate before the ACA was voted on. What we have now is are minimum standards which any health insurance provided can provide.

    This is as idiotic as saying that the safety regulations imposed by the NHTA on automakers will lead to a "takeover of the auto industry. Just give it time and the NHTA will be the only game in town!"

    Seriously, read up on the law.

    I wish our energy was really spent figuring out why healthcare costs so much

    If only our energy was spent on that and not wasted on putting the brakes on unsubstantiated rumors and right out fabrications.

    Funny you mention medicare considering they run a 1% (6% if you include the privatized portion) overhead compared to the ~15-20% private insurers are bitching about having to adhere to [pnhp.org].

  • by call -151 (230520) * on Monday October 07, 2013 @04:43AM (#45056843) Homepage

    As a researcher in mathematics, I am fortunate to have a great position and supportive research environment. I still get a paycheck and my day-to-day life continues more-or-less the same, but there are a number of thoughtless consequences indirectly for me, mainly due to the National Science Foundation being currently unfunded. My NSF grant money was delivered some time ago to my grants office and I can spend money as usual for my postdocs and students, so it isn't affecting me there directly. Instead, we have the following consequences:

    1. The NSF webpages are down. That means no reports on existing grants can be filed, not a big deal. But it also means that no new grant submissions can be filed. There are many deadlines in the fall and this is usually a very busy time for grant submissions. I expect that deadlines will be shifted, but that is a huge hassle as in my fields, generally there are once-a-year deadlines and there is a big buildup and plan to time things around the deadlines. Deadlines are carefully distributed throughout the year to avoid congestion with grants offices and to avoid proposing researchers getting overwhelmed. That is all out the window with no idea about how things will be resolved.
    2. No NSF review panels are meeting. In my fields, being asked to do a panel is both an honor and a serious burden. It is a lot of work to read proposals, often in related areas not exactly in areas of primary expertise. Twelve people are asked (per panel) to consider dozens of proposals, each hundreds of pages long (total, most of the important stuff is in about 50 pages.) These are essentially volunteers, top-level researchers from around the world who feel it is important to choose wisely which researchers are funded. Panels are scheduled to meet at the NSF with travel arrangements made by them. Generally it is a very intensive time with tight timelines. All of that is on hold. No new panels are being scheduled, existing panels are in limbo despite people having already read proposals and begun to evaluate them, and panels that already met can't have any further progress on funding decisions. Scheduling panels is a pain and there will be massive congestion and chaos once things get going again, assuming there is again a budget.

    To my mind, these are a big disruption. For people in the lab sciences whose funding is disrupted, projects that have been ongoing or building up can be seriously affected. For people whose funding record will have a big role in their hiring, tenure, and promotion situation, this is a huge stress-inducing situation.

    Blegh. This is a completely unnecessary disruption to thousands of scientists and researchers. Science research funding in the US has always been a pain, even when things go smoothly. Excellent researchers have left for Europe over the years due to frustrations with the NSF system, and things like this will exacerbate that problem.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant system is even larger scale and is also totally on hold, with consequent disruptions. And with the life sciences, uncertainty in projects can be more problematic as it is often harder to put things on hold. I feel sorry for people whose funding needs to be renewed, is under consideration, or needs adjustment now as this is a huge hassle.

  • Re: Liberal strategy (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:03AM (#45057659)

    That's a good summary, but you forgot to mention about how there probably actually are enough reasonable critters in the House to pass a budget acceptable to the Senate and President, but Boehner won't let it come up for a vote due to the "Hastert Rule."

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:11AM (#45057707)

    It kind of depends on who you mean by "poor." Young, middle-class low-net-worth folks would actually benefit from inflation (assuming their salary keeps up) because it would deflate their fixed-interest-rate debt (e.g. mortgages and student loans).

    Genuinely poor folks get screwed of course, because their debt is variable-interest-rate revolving and their housing costs increase with inflation.

  • Re:Liberal strategy (Score:5, Informative)

    by taiwanjohn (103839) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:23AM (#45057789)

    anyone who thinks that either party is for the "common guy," they are delusional. Simply delusional.

    No, of course, they are both "owned" by their corporate masters (including unions, PACs, et.al.) and differ only in the flavor and consistency of their BS. It's been building a long time, but the 2010 Citizens United SCOTUS decision was a major tipping point -- over the proverbial cliff.

    Since this results from a Supreme Court decision, the only way to fix is with a constitutional amendment. If you would like to change it, check out MoveToAmend.org [movetoamend.org] and Wolf-PAC.com. [wolf-pac.com] Sign and propagate the petitions. Get active. Contact your representatives at all levels.

    The 26th Amendment was proposed and ratified in just over 100 days, back in 1971. This can be done.

  • Re:Liberal strategy (Score:5, Informative)

    by RespekMyAthorati (798091) on Monday October 07, 2013 @12:52PM (#45061329)
    For the senate to compromise with the Tea Party is like you having to compromise with someone that is threatening to shoot you.

    Tea Party: I want to shoot you in the head, OK?
    You:No.
    Tea Party: OK, let's compromise. How about if I just shoot you in the stomach?
    You:No.
    Tea Party:Be reasonable! Then just let me shoot you in the hand. This is my final offer.
    You:No.
    Tea Party: So you won't negotiate. So, I'll just put up roadblocks everywhere so nothing can get though. And it's all your fault!

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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