As we all sit on the edge of our seats, wondering whether or not members of Congress will act like adults and come to a compromise on the 2011 budget, which should have been agreed upon six months ago in October 2010, let's take a moment and reflect.
Federal employees, even those deemed "essential" who will still have to work, will not get paid during the shutdown. These "essential" employees will have to work for free for however long the shutdown lasts. They will likely get back pay once the shutdown ends. It's up in the air whether the furloughed federal employees will get back pay.
Members of the military, including soldiers, will not get paid during the shutdown. They'll get back pay.
Members of Congress DO get paid during the shutdown. Although legislation has been proposed that would prevent Congress from receiving pay during a shutdown, it shouldn't be surprising that they haven't voted to pass it.
The President also gets paid during the shutdown.
Federal Judges get paid during the shutdown. Jurors and other court personnel don't.
Let's think about this logically. The very people who are bringing about the shutdown -- Congress -- still get paid in the event of a shutdown. This doesn't create a whole lot of incentive to prevent a shutdown, now does it? I really wish we had some grown-ups in Congress, because this is getting absurd. Rather than simply attempting to invoke fear among the masses, it would be nice if our representatives could propose alternatives and land on a compromise.