19 things that happen when the government shuts down.

On May 2, 2017, President Trump tweeted that maybe what the government needs is "a good 'shutdown.'"

It would be to "force a partisan confrontation over federal spending," according to The New York Times — as if the American government were a kid who needs a timeout. But that's just not how government works. When politicians can't get their act together, the rest of the country suffers.

How do we know this? Because in 2013, it did shut down. For 16 days. It, uh, wasn't great. If you (and the government) need a reminder of what's at stake, here are 20 things that happened to real people because of it:


1. Furloughed government employees were forced to take part-time jobs.

One U.S. Capitol employee took a job as a middle-school janitor, according to the Washington Post. Another family had to lay off a reading specialist they hired for their autistic son. At its peak, the shutdown put about 850,000 government jobs on hold.

2. National parks closed.

Photo from David McNew/Getty Images.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Cleo Tung and Matthew Locascio had to reschedule their wedding after the government closed Yosemite National Park. Another group was told their reservation to raft down the Grand Canyon — a plan 18 years in the making — wasn't going to happen.

3. National wildlife refuges closed too. Officials had to cancel a wild pony roundup on the Virginia coast.

Each year, workers round up the wild ponies on Assateague Island, conducting vet checks, giving immunizations, and collecting and selling new foals. The event had to be cancelled because the national wildlife refuge was closed. The same park closure also stopped a yearly peregrine falcon survey.

4. Outdoor-dependent businesses near the parks and refuges suffered greatly.

Closing Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska cost fly-fishing guide Fred Telleen thousands of dollars, the Washington Post reported, and closing Zion National Park in Utah cost the Zion Park Inn tens of thousands of dollars, reported The New York Times.

5. If Americans thought they'd hit a museum instead, tough luck. National museums and monuments were closed too.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The shutdown affected the Smithsonian museums and national monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial.

6. But it didn't stop 92 veterans from visiting the World War II Memorial.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight veterans dodged barricades to tour the temporarily closed site.

7. And this red-blooded American helped mow the Lincoln Memorial's lawn.

Photo from AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

Chris Cox from South Carolina took it upon himself to mow the lawns and empty the garbage cans on the National Mall. He refused donations, saying the point was to send a message to the government.

8. Meanwhile, 50,000 North Carolina families were left without baby formula.

The shutdown locked about 50,000 families in the state out of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which provides vouchers to low-income moms and families.

9. Homeowners at Lake Mead were told to vacate.

Joyce and Ralph Spencer, whose home is located on government land, were given 24 hours to find new accommodations, according to the Washington Times.

10. $4 billion dollars worth of tax refunds were delayed.

Tax refunds aren't just a nice bonus — they're money that's legitimately owed to workers and families. Checks had to be delayed because of staffing issues at the IRS.

11. Farmers' planting plans were thrown into disarray.

When the government shut down, it stopped providing insurance rate and price predictions to farmers. Combine that with a frozen-at-the-time farm bill, and it's understandable why farmers like Val Wagner said they were having trouble planning the next year's crop.

12. Potentially life-saving clinical trials got all scrambled up.

The shutdown furloughed about three-quarters of the National Institutes of Health's staff, putting a freeze on new clinical trial enrollments. About 200 patients a week had to be deferred, wrote the L.A. Times.

13. Alaskan crab fishermen were idled on the docks, waiting for NOAA permits.

Crab fishermen depend on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to set quotas and issue licenses. The shutdown meant the crews had to sit around waiting.

14. New airplanes were delayed.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

JetBlue and US Airways couldn't get new Airbus planes because the Federal Aviation Administration had furloughed the workers who certify them for flight.

15. In Daphne, Alabama, a domestic violence shelter had to ask the city for emergency funding.

A victim of domestic violence at a safe house in 2010. That year, domestic violence shelters in California experienced a similar crisis due to a state budget crisis. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP.

The city came through with funds for the The Lighthouse, but not all shelters were so lucky. The White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, which serves the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, said they had to turn at least four people away.

16. Native American communities lost big.

In Fort Yukon, Alaska, for instance, the political brouhaha shut down jobs, scholarships, and aid programs.

17. Asylum-seekers' cases were delayed or frozen entirely.

A Congolese doctor, applying for U.S. asylum after he spoke out about human rights atrocities, had his case frozen. The already backed-up system became even slower after courts shut down, a situation one lawyer called "a nightmare."

18. An investigation into Dartmouth College's sexual assault policies ground to a halt.

The college was under investigation after students complained the college hadn't been reporting or prosecuting sexual violence on campus. The shutdown paused the investigation.

19. Government workers grew beards.

With nothing else to do, furloughed employees grew beards and posting them on social media, leading to what must be one of our country's lowest moments: the creation of the #ShutdownBeards hashtag.

Ultimately, the 2013 shutdown cost the country about $24 billion.

According to the Standard & Poor's rating agency, the shutdown ended up draining $1.5 billion a day from the American economy.

So no, Mr. President. A government shutdown isn't a good thing.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

These are just a handful of the shutdown's effects. From passport applications to airplane accident investigations, we depend on the government to do its job. When politicians play games, real people get hurt.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via The BC Cancer Foundation

Testicular cancer typically affects men between the ages of 16 and 44 and is the most common solid tumor to occur in men of this age group. These tumors grow rapidly and can double in size in just 10 to 30 days.

The disease is potentially fatal if not discovered early and accounts for about 11%-13% of all cancer deaths of men between the ages of 15-35. An estimated 9,60 people were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020, resulting in around 440 deaths.

So it's incredibly important for people with testicles to check themselves regularly.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.