Ten Best Silver Linings of the Federal Shutdown

by Jordan Green


Would-be criminal defendants get a break

Republican and Democratic lawmakers may well have reached a deal to end the government shutdown by the time this goes to press; in the meantime let’s look for silver linings. Yes, it’s heartbreaking that nutritional aid to poor women with infant children in North Carolina was suspended last week. On the bright side, if you’re under investigation by the federal government, you’ve been granted at least a temporary reprieve. The Associated Press reports that the FBI has suspended “longer-term investigation of crimes.”

Restrictions on immigrant workers lifted

For an undocumented immigrant who wants to work in the United States or an employer looking to cut labor costs, these are the best of times. E-Verify, the program that allows employers to verify workers eligibility over the internet, is currently unavailable due to the shutdown.

Grow wild

Much has been made of the fact that national parks are closed. But imagine the grandeur that these sites will attain if they’re allowed to return to their natural state. Along these lines, the US Geological Service’s earthquake hazards program has also suspended most of its operations.


Republican candidates regularly sing hymns to deregulation as a means of unshackling the private sector. Here’s our chance to try it out. The AP reports that auto recalls and investigations of safety defects are on hold, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is no longer screening cargo at ports of entry and pollution monitoring by the EPA is on hold. The economy should be booming any minute now.

Relaxed credit

So-called “liar loans” allowed people without adequate financial resources to qualify for mortgages before the housing crash of 2008, but since then the rules have tightened up. This is the big chance for undercapitalized homebuyers to get their foot in the door, with lenders reportedly having difficulty confirming applicants’ tax returns through the IRS.

We don’t need no stinkin’ reports

The shutdown has also postponed reports on monthly unemployment, inflation, imports and exports, and retail sales, the AP reports. That’s not a problem considering that in this era of extreme polarization most people on either side find that facts are a liability rather than an asset in forming opinions. This arrangement works well for everyone. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re sympathetic to the party in power, then the outlook is sunny. On the other hand, if you don’t like the ruling party, then storm clouds are gathering.

Opportunities for warehousing

Sen. Kay Hagan has been waging a highly publicized campaign to get the Veterans Administration to reduce its backlog of disability benefit claims at its regional office in Winston-Salem. Sadly, those efforts have stalled as a result of the shutdown. But on the bright side, as the files begin to strain the structural integrity of the federal building, leasing opportunities for warehouse owners in the Twin City will improve.

Agents on furlough

The AP reports that the CIA “furloughed a ‘significant’ but undisclosed number of workers when the shutdown began.” This must be terrible news to all of the Yemeni and Pakistani farmers who go about their daily lives wondering if they will become collateral damage in a drone attack, or Afghan taxi drivers who take care to avoid being captured and subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques.

Fun with currency

If a deal isn’t reached by Thursday to raise the debt ceiling, the United States could default on its loan obligations. This is not the catastrophe everyone thinks it is. Imagine the possibilities of a new monetary system in which the Chinese yuan rather than the American dollar is the currency of choice for Mexican narcotraffickers, or bank-averse grandmas hide stacks of Brazilian reals under their beds.


Since President George W. Bush took the nation to war in Iraq based on trumped-up charges of weapons of mass destruction, many people around the globe have yearned for a multilateral world in which the United States does not unilaterally call the shots. With the New York Times reporting that Chinese leaders have called on a “befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” it’s fair to say that multilateralism is on our doorstep.