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Do You Care if the Government Shuts Down?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As the Friday midnight deadline to finalize a new full-year federal budget bill approaches, many Americans are expressing concern over the possible consequences of a full blown government shutdown.

Some analysts fear that a federal shutdown could potentially derail the U.S.'s already fragile economy. If the government is shuttered, hundreds of thousands of federal employees would be told to stop working and would be placed in a temporary non-pay status, which could lead to a decrease in consumer confidence and spending.

On the other hand, besides the relatively small percentage of civilians employed by the federal government, many Americans have come to believe that a government shutdown wouldn't have much of an impact on their daily life at all -- unless they were planning to visit a national park this weekend.

The Internal Revenue Service would have to suspend processing paper returns and sending out refund checks, but it would still continue electronic tax-return processing -- and in what may be good news to some, tax audits would temporarily cease.

The Social Security Administration would continue to send out benefit checks, but no new applications would be accepted or processed.

While some fear that the backlog of newly retired applications could hurt consumer confidence, the impact might not be as bad as some may expect, Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics at Moody's Analytics, told TheStreet.

"The Social Security recipients will eventually get their benefits," Faucher said. "That may displace some economic activity and may delay it somewhat but I don't think it will be a substantial impact."

While all "non-essential" government employees would be furloughed, all essential personnel, such as emergency workers, security personnel and air traffic controllers, would still report to work, the Office of Personnel Management explained.

That means the military would continue to deploy, the U.S. Border Patrol would remain on duty beyond Friday's deadline and U.S. Postal Service mail deliveries would continue as usual.
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