The Not-Shut-Down, During-the-Shutdown, Rundown

Sorry We're open copy

As we approach the two-week mark of the government shutdown, the reality of the situation seems to be setting in. Here at the 4E, we are working hard to provide you with all the information you need to understand what is actually going on. Personally, I did not know what the government shutdown entailed and have been in a constant state of utter confusion.

Since October is a big month for D.C. visitors (especially with parents’ weekend fast-approaching), everyone and their mother will want to go sight-seeing and museum-hopping. So, what are we suppose to do when all of the typical D.C. sights are closed? Do not fear, the 4E is here! Here are the D.C. Sights: Shutdown Edition.

The Spy Museum The Spy Museum is one of the newest (and open-est) museums in D.C. currently. This is because The Spy Museum is privately owned and, therefore, costs money to enter. But trust me, it’s worth it. The Spy Museum is an amazing experience and a great alternative while the Smithsonian is closed.

The Newseum The Newseum is another privately owned D.C. museum with a lot to offer. They have a fantastic exhibit of every Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph and their back stories as well as sections of the Berlin Wall (you can even touch a piece of it) and much much more!

Phillips Collection Located near the Dupont metro station, the Phillips Collection is America’s first museum of modern art. The price is affordable (no more than $12 and children under 18 are free) and the museum offers works from many artists including Vincent van Gogh.

U Street Corridor U Street is a popular commercial neighborhood in north D.C. that provides a fantastic walk-around area for residents and visitors alike. U Street is also the center of D.C.’s music scene. Hungry? Head to Ben’s Chili Bowl, a D.C. landmark and a very popular location for Georgetown students. Also, the African American Civil War Memorial is still open, so go check it out!

Georgetown’s Vietnam Memorial Unless you do not walk through SoReS, you probably have seen the replica of the Vietnam Memorial that Georgetown has erected. Instead of running by it, stop and check it out! Less tourists, easier commute. Thank you shutdown.

Looking to have a little fun with the shutdown? Go down to the monuments and pretend to be one of the tourists (since everyone seems to be ignoring the shutdown perimeters anyway). The Instagram possibilities are limitless. Don’t forget to document your trip with a picture of the government shutdown flyers.

Have fun, Hoyas!

Five Steps for Coping with the Government Shutdown, As Told By Social Media

Government Shutdown

As everyone knows (and if you don’t know, you’ve apparently been under a rock for the last week), the federal government has been shut down due to a failure to agree on a new debt budget.  Social media, especially Twitter, has been EN FUEGO (on fire, for our non-Spanish speaking readers) with commentary on the shutdown. These tweets have been witty, sad, controversial and everything in between.  Here are the 5 Steps for Coping with the Government Shutdown, As Told By Social Media*:

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 9.18.17 PM

*Disclaimer: these posts are not representative of my views or those of The Hoya. They simply made me chuckle:

1. Anarchy

If your first reaction was one similar to theirs, you should probably check out this article from early last week.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.09.44 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.11.33 PM

photo-5

2. Acceptance

Now that people began to understand what the shutdown meant, the posts became a little calmer, albeit a bit melodramatic.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.12.15 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.23.43 PM

3. Prioritize

How does the shutdown affect you? What should you look out for?

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.58.16 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.19.24 PM

4. Try to Find a Solution

Some Hoyas on Facebook had some advice for getting through the shutdown:

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 9.38.20 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.08.56 PM

5. Look at the Silver Lining

You aren’t in Congress, so unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot we can do at the moment. Just try and look at the bright side!Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.19.01 PM

While the government shutdown is certainly no laughing matter, at least these students and celebrities helped me get a laugh out of the ordeal.  If you are looking for more bizarre humor, just search “government shutdown pickup lines” on Twitter. Yup, it’s trending.  Hopefully this will be the last shutdown post out of us, and a big thank you to those of you that made it possible.  Keep up the good work!

Photo: Amari O’Bannon, Huffington Post, ParkTheaterVideo

The 6 Questions About the Government Shutdown That You Were Too Afraid To Ask

Budget BattleWell, Hoyas, midnight happened: Healy bells were chiming ominous tolls, Congress was screaming in a blur of Obamacare and budget failures and then, in a fury of doom, death and drinking, the federal government shut down.

So what exactly does that mean? Does Wisey’s have to close? Since we live in the District of Columbia, do we still have school? (You already know the answer to that.) But don’t worry — 4E has you covered. Here are The 6 Questions About the Government Shutdown That You Were Too Terrified To Ask:

What causes a government shutdown?

The United States Congress has many responsibilities, and one of them is passing bills that fund government spending. The federal government’s fiscal year is from Sept. 30 — Oct. 1, so, in order for the federal government to have the money to function in the coming year, Congress must pass the annual budget by Sept. 30 of the previous fiscal year. Today, as you might have realized, is Oct. 1 — in other words, a new fiscal year. The problem is, Congress failed to agree on a new budget by 11:59 p.m. last night, the end of the old fiscal year. No budget = no money = government shutdown.

So, what exactly is a government shutdown, and what in the world is happening?

Since the government didn’t pass its budget, it no longer has the money to perform all of its services and pay all of its employees. Don’t worry, though: Some of our most essential functions will keep going during a shutdown. You’ll still receive your mail, Social Security will keep getting paid and the military will keep fighting — and the same goes for other essential positions like food inspectors and air traffic controllers. That being said, a large number of government workers will be furloughed. As in, they don’t get money and don’t go to work. (Congress members and the president will still receive their salaries! Currently they clearly deserve them.)

Why is the Lincoln Memorial closed?

Because of the shutdown, more than 400 national parks are closed. Those include the ones in D.C. The same goes for government services across the board — in healthcare, immigration, veterans affairs, housing and law enforcement. A good list of what will be affected can be found here.

Okay. We know what’s happening. So why couldn’t Congress pass a budget?

This Congress is currently the most politically divided Congress in recorded history. As such, Democrats and Republicans have radically different views on what should and shouldn’t be taken care of in the budget. Adding to the problem, Democrats control the Senate and Republicans (a large number of them Tea Party conservatives) control the House. As you also probably know, it takes both the House and the Senate to get a bill passed and signed into law by the President. Recently, Congress passed several “stopgap” budget bills, which have essentially agreed to fund the government for some time and allow them to return to the issue at a later date. This was that “later date.”

The debate surrounding spending bill for this year’s budget centered around the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which took effect today regardless of the shutdown. Many Republicans, especially the Tea Party members in the bunch, wanted to see parts of the Affordable Care Act defunded and delayed. Many of them want to see the law repealed altogether. The Democrats, however, remained firm that the law should not be defunded or delayed. (Click here for some more information about that.) The result was a stalemate. The House passed budget bills that would take away parts of Obamacare. Then the Senate would reject them. It went back and forth until — you guessed it — shutdown.

Now what? Will this affect the economy?

Yes and no. According to the most recent numbers, stocks have still been doing fine. Nonetheless, depending on the estimates, a government shutdown might knock off approximately 0.5 percent of annual GDP growth. Projections show that the U.S. economy is only set to grow by about 2 percent this year. That means a quarter of this year’s economic growth might not occur because of this budget nightmare. But this is all still speculation, and accurate numbers won’t come in for a long time. It also all depends on the length of the shutdown and events in the future — like raising the federal debt limit, which needs to occur by Oct. 17. (But that’s an entirely different and complicated story for which you need to do your own research. So, start here.)

But really, this is important. Is Wisey’s still open?

Yes. Thank goodness there is still some hope in this world. Go grab a Chicken Madness and just wait things out. Congress will fix this mess eventually (our last government shutdown lasted 22 days) and federal workers will return to their jobs. But with the political stagnation occurring in Congress, you better be prepared for a lot more fighting. In other words, you should probably get a chocolate-chip Oreo cookie while you’re at it.