All signs are pointing today Monday the 21st as a repeat of the mid-90's shutdown of the Executive Branch over budget issues in 12 days. If this happens it will be just another sign of the total incomptence of the political leadership of this country and will send a strong and urgent message to the world's other nation-states that we (the US) cannot handle our own affairs even while we go around telling others how to manage their affairs.
There well be some important exceptions allowing actual operations but it looks like if the shut down occurs it could last as much as three (3) weeks which means that the guts will be torn out of department and agency operations for FY 2011. Why? First because enormous time and effort has to go to planning for a shut down and then reopening. This will consume most of a crucial two month period in the middle of the fiscal year and in a year already disrupted by having to operate under a CR [Continuing Resolution]!
At first I did not think that the impact of a Republican majority in the house would fully impact until the SENATE goes Republican in the 113th Congress in 2013 but now I see that the Republican victory in the face of Obama Administration incompetence in funding the FIRE sector but not jobs or infrastructure has been a devastating blow that will take good governance forces over a decade to overcome.
And I don't include the DEMS and their leadership in good governance leadership either. MOST inside the beltway have little understanding of the desperation of many people outside the beltway.
And this will NOT be a paid vacation for the bureacrats.