Shutdown Follies: Guard and Reserve Families Hard Hit, Concerned About Readiness

As the shutdown extends toward a second week, pundits note that a majority of Americans blame Republicans for the crisis. However, the numbers are shifting and President Barack Obama's approval rating is at an all-time low. Not only are many Americans not blaming Republicans, some directly affected by the shutdown believe the Democrats are "holding the country hostage."

Author Michael Z. Williamson's wife is a federal employee, and is currently dealing with the results of the shutdown:

My wife works for the Army Reserve as a Unit Administrator. Apparently, the executive branch through the SecDef has decided that managing Reserve units is not an essential task of the government. So her DoD position is not paying. As of this week, she's back at work with a promise to be paid later, but as far as I know as of this writing, that has not been approved.

UAs have to belong to the unit they support, so she's in the Army Reserve. Her unit didn't drill this last weekend, and to my knowledge, no units are, Guard or Reserve. So she didn't get that income, either.

Also, this is a newish position for her, and she has to be trained in the unit's mission. It's an engineering company. So even though she's administration, she also has to train for construction. She had approved orders for 1 Oct. for a school, which would have been active duty pay. That got cancelled. So at this point, she has no income at all.

Williamson's family has effectively had its income cut in half. Moreover, while working without pay, his wife is not eligible for unemployment and is not allowed to do temp work. Worse, Williamson said, when her orders were approved for the training that got canceled, a paycheck was generated, but since the orders were then cancelled the check must be paid back. Since the "check" was electronic, it couldn't even be refused.

I'm taking on more projects that may pay fast. We live within our means, have some savings, though those were hurt during the furlough and during my wife's job change earlier in the year. So far, we're hanging in there.