Also: Federal employees are not allowed to check their work emails and had to return their government-issued smartphones. Our government will be even less responsive than usual, if that's possible.
Who's cashing in?
Of course, the one group that isn't furloughed, that will continue to collect handsome salaries and take advantage of lavish health care options, is Congress itself. Some members have been feeling the heat from their constituents and are putting aside their paychecks as best they can, but not the vast majority. Per ABC News:
Aware of the potential political peril, dozens of lawmakers have made arrangements to have their salaries set aside, donated to charity or returned to the Treasury Department.
The Constitution prohibits lawmakers from withholding their own salary; they can only vote on the pay of future Congresses. But members can request that Office of the Chief Administrative Officer delay their paychecks until the government reopens.
Members of the House and Senate are among the highest paid officials in government, earning $174,000 per year. Congressional leaders receive about $20,000 more per year. That's a total cost to taxpayers of more than $258,000 per day while the government is shut down and hundreds of thousands of other federal workers have their paychecks delayed.
You have to wonder how quickly this mess would get resolved if members of Congress were forced to give up their paychecks and other perks of the office while the government is closed for business. Or, better yet, have them fund these important programs out of their own pockets. After all, nearly half of them are millionaires. They can afford it more than you or I.
If DC fat cats were an endangered species, would our government set aside money to save them? What's more important to you: politicians or penguins? Vote with your fingers below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "The shutdown gets real for science and high tech," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.