I was about 9 when the first government shutdowns happened, thanks to Newt Gingrich throwing a hissy fit. Though, of course, in my red-state household, no one framed it that way. Now, in 2013, we have John Boehner and his "suicide caucus " to blame. As someone on the fringes of this - my family is unaffected, though I know people who are - I figure it'd be best to link to other analysis and other information rather than to offer my own.
First, it's important to note that despite the government shutdown, the Affordable Care Act's federal health insurance exchanges opened up today. You can sign up online at Healthcare.gov, though, since it's so popular - go figure! - the site keeps getting overloaded, so you may have to wait awhile.
Next, I recommend this piece from Sheila Bapat over at RH Reality Check on who is affected by the shutdown - the ones Republicans claim to be defending.
WaPo's Wonkblog has a compendium of "Everything You Need to Know About the Shutdown."
And Al Jazeera America is using a Google Drive-powered service to collect stories of how the government shut down affects you.
It's important, as I said yesterday, to remember the human element of politics. There are real people, really, actively being harmed by this temper tantrum. Military families - the troops we're supposed to support - are going without paychecks.* People are being sent home from their jobs, with no idea of when they'll get money to pay their bills. I have a friend in Chicago right now who is working without pay because of this shutdown. This affects human beings, your neighbors, your family. It is actively harming people in order to prevent something that is already a law and already funded from being enforced.
*(Evidently they DID manage to pass a bill for military pay late last night, which I'd missed [see comments]).
The last thing I want to share with you is how this affects me. House Republicans want to delay the start of the ACA by a year - so instead of 2014, it'll be 2015 [the next Presidential election is in 2016, so don't think that's unintentional]. I'm under-employed right now and paying for my own private insurance plan out of pocket because I can't afford to have a gap. Having the 2014 start date for the tax credits and the "no rejection for pre-existing conditions" requirement is vitally important to my health care decisions and will impact my ability to provide for my own health care. So the House Republicans push here to try and defund it is despicable on that front alone.
Get involved. Get knowledgeable. And vote in 2014.
Got any good articles on the shutdown? Link 'em up in the comments!
[Mod note on comments: I'm not opening this up for a debate about the merits of the shutdown. What I'm wanting to emphasize here is the human impact, and I'm really not interested in moderating comments in a political debate. So, please, take those elsewhere.]