REPORT: What the shutdown teaches us about living paycheck-to-paycheck

TheHill.com:

The high-stakes political drama surrounding the U.S. partial government shutdown, now the longest in history, overshadows the all-too-real financial tragedies Americans are facing because of it. The shutdown is revealing a key vulnerability in the economy: Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck.

The partial government shutdown is now in its fourth week. About 800,000 federal workers haven’t gotten paid. Many of these workers and their families will have trouble paying their bills today, even if they get back pay when the shutdown ends.

Millions of families have limited or no access to credit — they can’t simply borrow against a future paycheck. Furthermore, federal contractors who are out of work because of the shutdown are not guaranteed back pay, even when the government reopens (though laws has recently been proposed to pay some of those workers).

The article goes on to state the following:

Indeed, the shutdown highlights a stark American reality: Millions of workers across the country live paycheck-to-paycheck, and this isn’t isolated to those in low income families. While there’s no one established way to measure what living paycheck-to-paycheck means,  a CareerBuilder Survey showed 78 percent of U.S. workers reporting that they live paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet, including nearly one-in-10 workers making over $100,000.

Another way to measure how close to the red families are living is to look at whether they can pay an unexpected expense. According to a study by the Federal Reserve, four in 10 adults, if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, would either not be able to cover it or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money, such as increasing their credit card debt.

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