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Government Shutdown Hours Away

4:50 PM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The federal government is just hours away from a potential shutdown.

The last time the government experienced a shutdown was back in 1995. It lasted 21 days, the longest shutdown since the 1970s. However, most shutdowns last three days or less.

Winston-Salem Resident Valerie Stroud said, "The biggest question is - What happens if it does shutdown?"

Walter Holton, another Winston-Salem resident, added, "It's obviously not good if the government shuts down. It's not a good thing for anybody. So, hopefully, they will get it fixed. But, overall, no, I'm not worried about it."

So, what happens, if the shutdown stretches for a few weeks? Some local businesses may take a hit, but experts say the business will come right back after it's over. If you need a federal loan to buy a house, you'll need to wait. Gun permits and passports will also be delayed.

"This is really about political gamesmanship and brinksmanship. It's a game of chicken, but it has no long-term economic effect. It just creates uncertainty in the short-run and really enhances volatility," Financial Expert Michael Wittenberg said. "It does increase volatility, fear and uncertainty. However, Social Security checks still go out. Medicare is still paid. The post office comes along and delivers your mail. A bunch of things remain the same."

More danger comes into play if the shutdown stretches to October 17, when the U.S. could hit its debt ceiling.

"That's where markets could become much more volatile. Then, you could have the possibility of a really steep sell-off in the marketplace as a result of that," Wittenberg said.

If we hit the debt ceiling, it's essentially like saying our country has maxed out on its credit card. The President would then have to ask Congress to raise the country's spending limit.

If the government does shutdown, about 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed. House and Senate members and the President will all still get paid.

Our news partners at USA Today have created a comprehensive question and answer page about the shutdown.

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