While the cable news channels scream their heads off at the inhumanity of it all, the average person seems to have seen this movie one too many times before. The “shutdown” of the federal government is, it turns out, government speak for a few people not working for a few days. And while that is not good for those people, the rest of the world and the U.S. Government is doing just fine. Of course, cable channels sympathetic to both sides of the dispute have no interest in downplaying any of this and FOX, CNN and MSNBC can hardly be yelling any louder. As of now however, no one in the real world appears all that concerned with a huge chunk of the population completely unaware that it is even happening. Many are paying attention, but the “shutdown” has thus far failed to stir too much concern. And the fact that the government seems to be rolling along just fine may be one of the reasons for this:
All of this whining and crying about a “government shutdown” is a total joke. You see, there really is very little reason why this “government shutdown” cannot continue indefinitely because almost everything is still running. 63 percent of all federal workers are still working, and 85 percent of all government activities are still being funded during this “shutdown”.
Now, those watching the aforementioned cable news channels will undoubtedly find those numbers a bit surprising, but the rest of the population seems to have a better handle on things, even if only instinctually. It will not stop CNBC (and those pesky cable news channels again!) from filling airtime with all sorts of talk of worldwide panic and downgrades and defaults. Adding to the expected miserable programming, is that there will be no jobs report today due to the “shutdown”. This will leave plenty of room for analysts to bemoan the lack of data as equivalent to anarchy. In short, it should be depressing viewing all the way around.
To be fair, the too-big-to-fail banks are joining in the panic party in a bizarre fashion. In order to alleviate any thoughts of panic among us common folk they have boosted the cash levels in their ATMs:
U.S. banks are loading their ATMs with extra cash in case the federal government shutdown and debt-ceiling battle lead to a stampede of withdrawals, the Financial Times reported Friday. One bank is adding as much as 30% more cash as a precaution, the FT said.
One would think that announcing a fear of panic would have the opposite result intended, but again, this may be too sophisticated for us commoners.
Meanwhile, while listening to the cable chatter you may think that the markets must be diving toward the ground. But, they too seem to be tired of all this panic talk as Wall Street has been remarkably calm and the futures are up a bit heading into Friday’s session.
Assuming that you have gotten your ATM money out from those replenished too-big-to-fail bank machines, it may be a good time to tune out the noise this weekend. Hey, the Red Sox (yeay!) Dodgers, Pirates and more will be battling it out this weekend and it looks like a good slate of NFL games too. I guess we will all see what happens by Monday–I’ll talk to you then. Have a great weekend!