So, it looks like the fed.gov just might shut down for a little while. While some opine that it is no big deal, it really is. Yes, personnel who are considered essential, that being military, law enforcement, air traffic control, etc. will get back pay, however, nonessential personnel will be out of work, quite possibly without retroactive pay and all nonessential services stop.
Lets take a look at the government shutdown of fiscal year 1996:
New patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical center; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceased disease surveillance; hotline calls to NIH concerning diseases were not answered and toxic waste clean-up work at 609 sites reportedly stopped and resulted in 2,400 Superfund workers being sent home.
Delays occurred in the processing of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases reportedly
was suspended; cancellation of the recruitment and testing of federal law enforcement officials reportedly occurred, including the hiring of 400 border patrol agents; and delinquent child-support cases were delayed
Closure of 368 National Park Service sites (loss of 7 million visitors) reportedly occurred, with loss of tourism revenues to local communities; and closure of national museums and monuments (reportedly with an estimated loss of 2 million visitors) occurred
Approximately 20,000-30,000 applications by foreigners for visas reportedly went unprocessed each day; 200,000 U.S. applications for passports reportedly went unprocessed; and U.S. tourist industries and airlines reportedly sustained millions of dollars in losses
Of $18 billion in Washington, DC, area contracts, $3.7 billion (over 20%) reportedly were affected adversely by the funding lapse; the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was unable to issue a new standard for lights and lamps that was scheduled to be effective January 1, 1996, possibly resulting in delayed product delivery and lost sales; and employees of federal contractors reportedly were furloughed without pay.
All that having been said, federal income tax returns will not be processed, but you can bet your ass that federal income tax returns will still have to be filed on April 18th or taxpayers will face penalties despite the fact that there's no one in the office to file the paperwork.
So yeah, it actually is a big deal. It may sound simple, however a government shutdown has a profound impact upon the economy, which is already in the shitter, thanks to the government.