10 Shocking Ways the Government Shutdown Puts Us in Danger

It's Day 4 of the government shutdown - which means Day 4 of your life being more dangerous than it was in September...

You see, besides the effects of 800,000 workers being furloughed, the government shutdown affects the general public in ways most of us don't realize.

Some are downright scary.

Here are 10 you should know now:

How the Government Shutdown Endangers Your Life

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is just sick over the government closure. The CDC has sent home workers who study and track disease outbreaks and other health risks. "I usually don't lose sleep despite the threats that we face, but I am losing sleep because we don't know if we'll be able to find and stop things that might kill people," CDC director Tom Frieden told CBS News.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) must now turn away patients for clinical trials. With nearly three-quarters of the NIH staff furloughed, some 200 patients (including about 30 children, most of whom are cancer patients) who otherwise would be admitted weekly to the NIH Clinical Center will not be admitted.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has suspended most routine safety inspections, and federal occupational safety and health inspectors have ceased workplace inspections - except in cases of imminent danger.
  • The National Highway Travel Safety Association (NHTSA) has stopped announcing new car recalls and won't update safety defect complaints until funding is restored. Posted on NHTSA's website: "Due to a lapse of Federal Government funding, NHTSA is unable to post any new recalls after close of business September 30, 2013."
  • Almost all of NASA's operations have been grounded by the government shutdown. Closed is NASA's Earth Object Office, responsible for tracking and reporting asteroids that threatened the planet, like the 150-foot chunk of space rock that barreled near Earth in February, coming closer than the moon. The message posted on NASA's website reads: "Due to the lapse in government funding, this website is not available. We sincerely regret any inconvenience. For information about available government services, visit USA.gov."

  • The Director of National Intelligence warned Congress that the government shutdown puts the country in danger, causes "insidious" damage, and risks spy missions. He also warned that financial stress brought on by not getting paid could make intelligence officers vulnerable to being bought off by foreign spies.
  • What happened to women and children first? The government has stopped funding the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children. Nearly 9 million mothers, and kids under five living near or below the poverty line, rely on the program known as WIC for supplemental vouchers for healthy food, breastfeeding support, infant formula, and a plethora of necessities dispensed at countrywide clinics.
  • Some 1,600 Head Start programs will slowly begin closing. These programs, dotted all across the nation, provide critical education, health, nutrition, and other services to roughly 1 million low-income children and their families.
  • Low-to-moderate income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages are facing delays. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30% of home mortgages, isn't underwriting or approving any new loans while the government is shut down.
  • Consumer confidence is taking a hit. With at least 800,000 employees on unpaid, involuntary leave, a lot of people will be spending a lot less on everything from food to clothing to big ticket items like cars and vacations. Even if the shutdown lasts for only a week or two, the scare accompanying the sudden furlough or decline in business will damage our economy - which means it can pack a painful hit to households that weren't financially prepared.

Now find out how the government shutdown is affecting markets.

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