Lewis W. Diuguid

Federal shutdown adds to new normal of dread

Updated: 2013-10-06T23:25:12Z

By Lewis W. Diuguid

The Kansas City Star

The Labor Department released no unemployment numbers Friday. That’s because the Republican-orchestrated federal government shutdown over Obamacare landed employees in that federal agency on the bricks.

The unemployment rate was expected to stay above 7 percent. Welcome to the new normal.

People have come to expect it. Heck, they’ve gotten used to it.

If the federal shutdown continues, leaving 800,000 nonessential employees out of work, expect the unemployment number to go higher along with an increase in the number of food stamp recipients, foreclosure rates, and people falling behind on their credit card and student loan bills. Consumer confidence will tank even more as the country approaches the holiday season.

Christmas gifts may be a lot skimpier this year. That won’t help retail sales. The catastrophic effect of the shutdown and Congress failing to act before the Oct. 17 deadline to extend the debt limit is looking more like a reality.

But people aren’t reacting with outrage as much as some might think. Since the Great Recession, folks have become accustomed to living with hard times.

Breadwinners’ own furloughs, savings and retirement account losses, joblessness and deteriorating value in their homes has left people with a compassion fatigue for the undetermined number of payless days that non-essential federal workers face. These torrential times aren’t going away, and people aren’t liking being in the long, seemingly endless line of doom.

It has cast an accepted feeling of gloom over the country, and Congress has added to it.

One bright spot in Kansas City is people are looking forward to the undefeated Chief playing the Titans on Sunday. With any luck, the winning streak will continue, leaving folks with a good, upbeat feeling to carry them into the new week.

To reach Lewis W. Diuguid, call 816-234-4723 or send email to ldiuguid@kcstar.com.

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