"People can not stay long without money"

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Across the country, 800,000 federal officials are unemployed or work without pay.
Across the country, 800,000 federal officials are unemployed or work without pay. JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS

Cathy Goings kills time between the trinkets and scented candles. The customer base is rare in her shop with the appropriate name "Embellishments", whose pink façade indicates a bit in this unattractive street of Clarksburg (West Virginia).

At the beginning of the year, the shopkeeper, who happens to be the mayor of this old industrial town, has two good reasons for anxiety. In recent days, her various companies – she also owns a clothing store and a restaurant – are inactive. " In a crisis we know that people are the first to cut the budget and the redundancy of leisure activities. "

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Decrease of activity

But above all the city as a whole begins to feel the effects of the partial freeze on the federal government ("Shut down"), which entered a historic record on Saturday, January 12, in its twenty-second day.

Across the country, 800,000 federal officials are unemployed or, in some security-related sectors, unpaid, victims of political blockades caused by the inability of elected Republicans and Democrats to agree on funding for "Wall" promised by President Donald Trump on the border with Mexico.

In Clarksburg, 16,000 residents, this American fiscal incongruity could weigh more than elsewhere. In this part of West Virginia, where the poverty rate is higher than the national average, civil servants have long replaced employees in the glass factory and miners.

The city owes part of its activity to the 2,500 federal police officers (FBI) who were in its suburbs twenty years ago. The restaurants next to their complex begin to blame. At Buffalo Wild Wings, Sydney, one of the leaders confirms a decline in activity "For a week". A Jay Miller, head of the Irish Pub, is also worried about the absence of a way out of the crisis. "People can not stay long without money."

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Reserve requirement

On Friday, many civil servants, who were paid every two weeks, did not receive their salary. "The people are outraged and worried: without payment, how do you ensure that they are automatically removed from their bank account? Cathy Goings wonders. We will also feel the effects at the municipal level. We had to receive government subsidies for the renovation of an old building. Our interlocutors do not even answer the telephone anymore. Everything is frozen. "