SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As a possible federal government shutdown looms, many in the Ozarks wonder what it would mean for their paychecks. President Obama met with Democratic and Republican leadership on Thursday morning and again on Thursday afternoon to try to reach a budget agreement by the deadline of midnight Friday.
The sticking point is the amount of spending cuts. Obama wants to cut $33 billion in services; Republicans want to cut $61 billion. If they don't agree on a number, it's federal employees’ next paychecks that could be cut.
The question is whether the threatened government shutdown is about politics or about reforming the government’s pocketbook.
“Rather than the amount of money being such an important thing, I think it is more the opening rounds of debate that will go on for months,” said Tom Wyrick, a professor of economics at Missouri State University.
In the short term, citizens' wallets may feel the effects. Without any budget agreement by Friday night, federal employees will be sent home without pay until there's a budget. That includes staff at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield and other national parks where "Visitor activities that require a permit, including public events, will not be allowed or will be cancelled or postponed. Visitor centers will be closed and access to park areas denied,” according to a statement from the National Parks Service.