Nums: How much of the government is actually shut down?

Question: in a partial government shutdown, like the one underway at the moment, how much of the government is actually shut down, and how much is not?

Answer: About 17%.shut down; 83% up and running

Details below …


Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue.

This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion).

This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion.” Source


And, let’s drill down on who actually got furloughed …

Every winter when the snow falls in DC, I get to hear my favorite radio announcement: “Non-essential government employees need not report to work today.”

Question I always ask: “Why do they ever have to report to work?”

With that as a backdrop, “workers furloughed” is a good proxy “non-essential”, right?

Well, the Washington Post reports that practically no one was furloughed at:

  • State Dept.
  • Post Office
  • Federal Reserve
  • SEC
  • Veteran’s Administration
  • Homeland Security

All of those make sense to me … except for the USPS … but, I guess the mail has to go through.

At the other end of the spectrum, practically everybody was furloughed at:

  • NASA
  • HUD
  • Education
  • EPA

Which leads to the logical follow-up question:

“If those agencies are almost fully populated by non-essential employees. why do those agencies even exist?”

I’m a NASA fan, but with their space missions being outsourced to commercial firms, I say cut ‘em.

HUD has done a fine job, right?  Gone !

Education spends billions and test scores continue to decline.  Adios.

EPA is tasked with making gas prices reach European levels.  Think you’ll miss them?

Bottom line: I think that a by-product of this partial shutdown is a prioritization of full agencies that can be axed to get the budget under control.

That’s the way businesses do it.


Courtesy of the Washington Post via Slate


Thanks to SMH for feeding the lead

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3 Responses to “Nums: How much of the government is actually shut down?”

  1. John Carpenter Says:

    Hey, let’s go a little further on this. If we did not have Congressmen (all-non-essential) we would not have this particular emergency. Maybe it will fix itself.

  2. paul curtin Says:

    Would be interesting to see % or budget $ on the bar chart as thickness of the bar.

  3. TK Says:

    There is a difference between short term and long term. Go ahead and hold your breath for 15 seconds. Does this mean you no longer need oxygen?

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