Readers Expect Shutdown (And That They Will Get Paid Anyway)

A majority of readers responding to our recent survey think there will be a government shutdown; many (not a majority) think that they will get paid regardless of the shutdown; and that neither party will benefit from the event.

 Several thousand readers responded to our recent survey on a government shutdown. A majority think there will be a shutdown; they think they will get paid after the shutdown; and they don’t think that either party will benefit politically from the event.

1. Do you think there will be a government shutdown this year

Yes 52.1% 1,332

No 30.9% 790

Undecided 17.1% 437


2. If there is a shutdown, which political party do you think will realize a political benefit from the action?


Republicans 23.0% 589

Democrats 24.9% 636

Both 10.3% 263

Neither 41.9% 1,071


3. If there is a shutdown, do you anticipate
that federal employees will be paid for the time the government is not
open for business?

Yes they will be paid 45.3% 1,158

No they won’t get paid 37.9% 969

Undecided 16.9%


Here is a small sample of the comments we received from readers expressing their views on the topic:

  • Loved it – stayed home 3 weeks and still got paid. What was the point of the shutdown??? When I still got paid????
  • Unfortunately, I had to work during two shutdowns, while everyone else got a paid vacation. Also my boss at the time wouldn’t even let me go to a doctor appointment that I had previously scheduled during that time. She said I had to work the full workday without any time away. To make matters worse several people that got to stay home came back the first day and made comments like “I wish I would have had another day off.”
  • As an young agent I was furloughed just prior to christmas back in the late ’80s under Graham/Rudman. I was forced to work without pay because my position is deemed critical. Eventually I received my salary. Administrative employees got a free vacation becasue they were furloughed for a little over a week but got their pay once the furloughs were done.
  • No previous experience with past goverment shutdowns, however have a years salary saved with no bills. So I should be okay. Plan on doing some hobbbies for extra $$$$ 
  • I worked in the yard for 3 days, it was very relaxing.During the 1995 shutdown I was labled an essential employee. I worked during the time of the furlough having to cover the work for my coworkers who were sent home doubling my workload and adding to my hours (without compensation). When it was all over I did not get any time off as a way to recover. Now I am a non-essential employee. If a shutdown happens I cannot wait for some time off. I am very confident we will be paid. This is a political battle and we are just the pawns. But I do support the effort to reduce our deficit and if I do not get paid that will be okay too and I will adjust.
  • I was workig for the Coast Guard in Brooklyn, NY, and there was a weatherman on channel 9, LLoyd Lindsay Young, who would start each report with a long “HELLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOO” and would state a persons name, business, or organization. The day I got furloughed I went to the liquor store, got a bottle of Jack, went home, and drunk dialed channel 9 to ask if Young would say “helllllllllloooo” to all the furloughed government employees. I’ll never know if he did it or not because I passed out before the news came on.
  • Played golf, did projects around the house. Shutdown took me till the end of the Fiscal Year to catch up on the work that accumulated while we were locked out. Congress should be Horsewhipped for their lack of responsibility to the people of the United States.
  • We had 4 managers – 2 worked one day and 2 the next until one decided to go “back home” 500 miles away. He ended up getting paid even though he skipped town. No spare job or new hobbies. Answered phones (which barely rang) and oversaw 5 employees who still worked in the field. What a waste of money!!!
  • I worked everyday, took money out of my savings account so that I could buy gas and panty hoses to go to work. I was threaten by the “customers” that came to complain that they “had not received their appointments and who did we think we were” and “why aren’t there more employees to help them.”
  • We stayed home for 3 weeks with no idea how long it would last nor whether we would be paid if and when we returned.
  • Both my husband and I work for the Department of Army – I was considered “NON-essential” while he, thankfully, was considered essential. Most of the office was corralled into a room and told we were no longer needed untill the budget issues were fixed in federal spending. We personally did not get hurt very bad, as
    the government ended up paying us our missed salary. My husband and I continue to work for the Department of Army currently.
  • I worked in Accounting at Savannah River Site for DOE. There was a shutdown but most of us were deemed necessary so we remained at work and were paid. The worst thing that happened while I was a federal employee was when Congress seized our TSP savings and used it for several months. Sure, they repaid the money but we were unable to manipulate our savings during the time they held it.
  • I was off two weeks in December of 1995 and the first week of 1996. Our agency the Social Security Administration, was told to stay at home unless deemed necessary and you would be specifically called in to work. My relatives worked for Office of Personnel Management and their agency thought they would end up getting paid so they were told to report to work each day or take leave.
  • When Clinton stopped screwing around and the shut down ended, every employee that was sent home got full pay and earned vacation hours too. (Supervisors who worked got no free money like employees.)
    Considering all the money that was paid to employees (Federal Government wide) during the shutdown, Clinton threw all of that money away, wasted, just so he could play games with the budget. I and my employees were extremely upset and embarrassed to be a federal employees.
  • Fired for not immediately being able to return to office after 3 week furlough. Working out-of-state. MSPB judge advised agency to reinstate and clear record. Agency personnel polices modified after internal investigation. Reflection: Stress levels were very high for everyone before, during, and immediately after the furlough.
  • On my butt doing nothing. My wife had a honey-do list long as my arm but not knowing if the next day we would be back to work, all I could do was eat a bite at a time. Hope they put a 24-48 hour call back into this one. We can be real concerned with gays in the military but can’t get a budget passed…what a joke.
  • Couldn’t keep working in Govt job. Not essential. Couldn’t work if we wanted to. No budget, no you will NOT work (management). I worried. My children worried. My husband worried. I’m sure my dogs would have too…maybe they did. This time I might need to get another job. I don’t think either side will blink and frankly if they put ‘special projects’ in the budget while complaining about us rich feds, then I hope they DON’T pass the budget. Let the people scream.
  • I tried to spend as little as possible and spent more time with my daughter, who
    was ten years old in 1995.


Our thanks to the thousands of readers who took the time to share their views and their experiences with us on previous federal government shutdowns.