Shutdown affects West Lafayette

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Dormant Department: The Purdue University Agriculture Department often works with the federal government. Under the government shutdown, many employees have been furloughed.

At precisely midnight on October 1, 2013, the United States federal government shut down. The cause was a standoff between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

They failed to pass a budget for this fiscal year due to arguments over the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was passed in 2010.

“Non-essential” federal employees were furloughed, or given temporary, unpaid leave, because there was no budget with which to pay them. These employees include National Park rangers, NASA scientists, and Department of Agriculture workers, many of whom work through Purdue University.

“Both of my parents were furloughed because they work for the Department of Agriculture,” said Melinda Crane ’14. “I’m the only person I know with two parents who are out of work.”

Crane’s parents have to wait for the government to pass a budget before they will receive their next paycheck, and they could be fired for physically showing up for work during the shutdown. Her family and many others are now restricted in their spending, which has negative effects on the economy.

“800,000 people were laid off, so they’re not buying anything right now. Consumption is down, and many things that would help the economy can’t get done,” said Government teacher Mr. Pugh.  He cited mortgage loans as an example, as they are approved by the federal government and cannot be granted during the shutdown.

Crane said that the shutdown has put a lot of stress on her family. After the government shutdown in 1996, her parents were compensated for the time they were furloughed, but such backpay is uncertain this time around.

“The average person probably won’t feel the effects directly,” said Economics teacher Mr. Ambrose. “It’s indirectly that people are going to see the effect.  I might not notice it personally, but someone on government programs or someone trying to borrow money to buy a house might notice it.  It depends on where you’re at in your life.”

“I can’t think of anything positive from a government shut down, let’s put it that way,” he said.

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