LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – If Congress can’t find a budget deal before midnight Sunday, the federal government will shut down. Such an event could have major economic consequences, experts say.
“There’s never a good time for a federal government partial shutdown. But I would say this timing is more inopportune than usual because of the many cross-currents that are facing the U.S. economy,” says Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst Bankrate.com.
Hamrick says the current UAW strike, inflation and rising interest rates are all “cross currents” that will make any potential shutdown more difficult.
Most Americans aren’t ready to work without being paid. “Americans emergency savings or lack thereof,” he says. “And one consistent finding from our survey from Americans is most live paycheck to paycheck.”
The current economic situation – high inflation and rising interest rates – has already put a strain on food pantries.
With a looming shutdown, more people could be in need of food leading to significant demand – without additional funding.
“It has the possibility to affect a lot of food banks and distribution centers,” says Amanda Thompson, executive director of Helping Hands Food Pantry of Charlotte. “We just are preplanning that this is gonna happen. We are ordering food already for next month as well. Just planning ahead to make sure we have enough on hand.”
Complicating the picture of a government shutdown is the length of time it drags on. Thompson says if it lasts more than a few weeks, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program dollars could be a problem for those who get them.
“Use the funds as wisely as possible, and stretch them as far as possible,” Thompson warns current SNAP beneficiaries. “Food stamps do not expire, so on your EBT card, you can stretch those dollars further. If you can afford an extra can or two, get that; put it in your cupboard and save it if there is an incident.”