At the last moment, Congress passed a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through Nov. 17.

It is still perplexing as to how a government, that has borrowed so trillions of dollars in "emergency money" over the past couple of years, can be broken at all... but here we are.

That gives your federal government 45 days from the start of the stop-gap measure to pass a budget.

So what really happens when the government shuts down?

We do not have to speculate, we already know based on past shutdowns.

Let's go back to the last government shutdown, in 2013.

This week’s chart uses the level of spending to examine the share of the federal budget affected by the government shutdown. The shutdown has limited 17 percent of spending, amounting to $626 billion. This means 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion, amounting to $2.9 trillion, is unaffected and is continuing uninterrupted.  (Mercatus Center).

17% is not much.

It's nowhere near a total shutdown.

Let's take a look at what will close


Due to lack of funding? If a museum is not making a profit then turn it over to the private sector. There are many private for-profit museums that stay open and make money.

Flight delays

Due to lack of air traffic controllers? There are plenty of agencies that the government wastes money on. Close them for good and send the money to air traffic controllers.

Postponed passport services

Have you tried to get a passport? It's already being postponed. No big deal.

Construction work

How much government construction work is really needed? Road work, for sure. But government shutdowns are usually short-lived. Those projects will start right up again after the shutdown ends and the money is turned back on.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Head Start Programs

Low-income families could lose access to Head Start programs temporarily. Again that will start right back up after the money is turned back on.

WIC and SNAP funding

This funding would be at immediate risk, but that's okay America has many church and civic groups that already fill these needs.

Immigration courts could close.

Have you been following our immigration crisis? What good have the courts done?

Non-essential workers are furloughed, or temporarily suspended.

WAIT - WAIT! Government has non-essential workers? We can let them go for good. Right now. That would save a lot of money.

Tax services

Tax services will be limited and refunds and dispute resolutions will be delayed. But that happens every year anyway, so, no big deal.

Federal employees and military service

These positions will not get paid until the money is turned back on- at least that is the threat. But this does not need to happen. We have plenty of useless programs we can shut down for good and spend that money to pay these people.

The Small Business Administration would likely stop processing new applications for major loan programs. But the government should not be loaning money. That's what banks are for.

The federal government has shut down in the past, like back in 2013, for several weeks.

Nothing bad happened.

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