In just a few days, this will officially be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, and there is no end in sight.
President Trump is pledging that he will not sign any spending bill unless it includes funding for a border wall, and the Democrats are promising their supporters that they will never agree to a single penny for a wall. This could be the confrontation that ends up defining Trump’s presidency, and whoever backs down now is going to look incredibly weak.
But the longer this shutdown lasts, the more painful things are going to become for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are going without pay, and for the hundreds of thousands of workers that are employed by government contractors that rely on business from the federal government.
You should never play a game of chicken with somebody that is crazier than you are. In this case, it looks like both sides fully expect the other party to blink first, but the truth is that neither side is likely to yield any time soon.
So the days ahead are likely to be exceedingly painful for most federal workers, because just like the population as a whole, most of them are living paycheck to paycheck.
In fact, one survey found that 78 percent of American workers are currently living paycheck to paycheck…
Government workers are far from alone in feeling stressed about not getting paid. Nearly 80 percent of American workers (78 percent) say they’re living paycheck to paycheck, according to a 2017 report by employment website CareerBuilder. Women are particularly vulnerable: 81 percent of them report living paycheck to paycheck, compared with 75 percent of men.
As I have repeatedly stressed, living paycheck to paycheck is something that you do not want to do if at all possible. When you live paycheck to paycheck, you are just one major disaster away from financial ruin. For example, if somebody in your family has a major accident or a significant medical emergency, it can quickly render you completely destitute.
That same survey also discovered that 70 percent of all workers are currently in debt…
Just more than 70 percent of all respondents say that they’re in debt, and a quarter of workers say they weren’t able to make ends meet at the end of every month of the past year.
If you are scrambling to make debt payments every month and you have no financial cushion to fall back on, then you have no room for error, and that is where most Americans find themselves today.