The federal government might shut down all non-essential functions tonight. Some folks see this as a good thing. But it is my understanding that a shutdown will end up costing us more money in the long run, since furloughed government employees will get back pay for the time that they weren't allowed to work.
The possibility of a government shutdown brings up a good question: If it isn't essential, why should we be paying for it at a time when financial resources are scarce? Of course, we can all argue over what is and isn't essential all day long. But if a "non-essential" program is really essential to you, the possibility of a government shutdown is all the more reason that you shouldn't trust the government to provide it for you.