4 Lesser-Known Effects of the Government Shutdown

Oct 1, 2013, 4:55 pm EDT
4 Lesser-Known Effects of the Government Shutdown

As you probably know, today marked the start of a new fiscal year for the good ol’ U.S. of A — one that’s getting underway without an agreed-upon budget in place, resulting in a government shutdown.

And you’ll probably feel it one way or another.

See, the federal government is the nation’s largest employer. That means that lots of folks had to read furlough letters this morning … and others connected to those government agencies are feeling the impact of that reality, too. Read 

Obamacare Launch Marred by Error Messages

Oct 1, 2013, 11:39 am EDT

On Tuesday, many consumers looking to choose among health insurance options on new state and federally-run exchanges had difficulty getting access to the websites as technical problems hampered the launch.

The exchanges are a major part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — known as Obamacare — allowing consumers to explore a variety new subsidized health plans. However, one exchange — which handles health insurance coverage for residents of 36 states — promptly started posting error messages for users in 24 of those states soon after it began operating this morning, Reuters noted.

High online traffic was blamed for problem and technicians were said to be working to resolve the issue. Read 

Morgan Stanley: What to Expect Next From the Government Shutdown

Oct 1, 2013, 9:32 am EDT

Morgan Stanley has issued a note about the U.S. government shutdown — and here are some quick takeaways from the analysis.

From Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. economist Vincent Reinhart (via Business Insider):

    A 15 basis point drag on fourth-quarter real GDP growth, at an annual rate, for every week of shutdown as furloughed workers do not put in usual hours. Most data releases delayed, including the employment situation for September that was scheduled for release on Friday. The quality of some official data to degrade as the shutdown lengthens because workers will not be in the field to collect the raw information. Treasury payments to be processed, including principal and interest, as its fiscal agent, the Federal Reserve, remains open for business.

Reinhard estimates the shutdown to last no more than a week. Read 

Some Obamacare Exchanges Face IT-Glitch Delays

Sep 30, 2013, 2:40 pm EDT

Obamacare exchanges will finally be open to the public on Tuesday but some people will not be able to fully sign up for the online health care policy.

CNN reports that some residents of Colorado, Oregon and Washington, DC will be affected by technical glitches regarding Obamacare. State and federal officials said that this is not a major problem as Americans will still be covered as long as they sign up by December 15 since the insurance won’t kick in until January 1. Read 

CNN Cancels Hillary Clinton Documentary

Sep 30, 2013, 1:13 pm EDT

CNN has decided to cancel its documentary on Hillary Clinton after the film’s director left the project.

Charles Ferguson, who was the director of the documentary, left the project because he was put under pressure by Clintion’s aides and the Republican National Committee. According to Ferguson, he was interrogated by Clinton’s aide Nick Merrill. He also claimed that  Philippe Reines, who has been an adviser to Clinton, called CNN and interrogated various people and expressed his “concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor.” Ferguson also said that the Republican National Committee decided not to include CNN as a potential debate sponsor in 2016 if the network continued with the documentary. CNN said that it won’t seek another director for the film and that it is cancelling the project, reports USA Today.

“I still believe that Mrs. Clinton has many virtues including great intelligence, fortitude, and a deep commitment to bettering the lives of women and children worldwide,” Ferguson wrote in a Huffington Post blog. “But this is not her finest hour.” Read 

Oops! Army Pays Out $16M to AWOL Soldiers

Sep 27, 2013, 12:43 pm EDT

Between 2010 and 2012, the U.S. Army continued to issue paychecks to soldiers who had been declared absent without leave (AWOL) or deserters.

The finding comes from a new audit that discovered $16 million in payments to AWOL personnel during the period. The auditors warned that the Army had not instituted adequate internal controls to prevent benefits and compensation from being paid to personnel not properly on duty, the Associated Press notes.

In their report, the auditors called the payments “unacceptable,” given the current squeeze on the Army’s finances. The audit’s findings come as the military is adjusting its budgets to accommodate reduced federal spending due to sequestration. Read 

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