How Bad Will a Government Shutdown Be for Travelers?
The United States federal government has shut down precisely 17 times since 1976, as various elements of the Legislative and Executive branches - which the Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, set in opposition to each other - failed to agree on various measures necessary to keep the government operating. This time around, our elected representatives are fighting over Obamacare. If they don't hammer out something in the next few hours, the government will shut down and only so-called "essential" personnel will be allowed to continue working.
Before you ask why the federal government uses taxpayer money to pay employees who aren't essential, please know that (1) the joke has been made dozens of times in the last few hours on Twitter and (2) if there's a shutdown, they're going to close the gates at the DC Zoo and turn off the pandacam. Not so libertarian now, are we?
As far as less significant travel issues will go, the kids at The Points Guy tweeted some relevant questions at one of TSA's media people. Ross Feinstein responded by explaining that "the majority of [TSA's] front line staff is essential," so it's unclear whether there will even be longer wait times at airports. Air traffic controllers will also remain on duty.
But while people will still be able to fly more or less without disruption, there will be less places for them to go. As USA Today creatively headlined their story from late this afternoon, "you can fly, but it will be lights out at many landmarks."
Like the DC Zoo, most national museums and parks will be closed. People who are already physically in national parks would be given two days to leave.
[Photo: Kmccoy / Wiki Commons]