Most government contract workers won't be getting back pay. http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-14/no-reprieve-for-contract-workers-wages-lost-in-shutdown.html
I'm one of those that's staying home without pay (or any hope of recovering pay).
In my opinion, it's a simple problem. When we elect career politicians to manage our affairs who have never experienced life outside of the top 5%, we're going to get decisions and policies that hurt (or at the very least aren't in the best interest of) 95% of us. It's also no surprise to me that when extremists are elected, we get extreme decisions and consequences. I'm not sure why that's not obvious to more people yet...
Sampling of the real consequences for my family:
-- my DH is working any extra shifts possible, leaving me at home with super needy DD and no money for food or bills.
-- we make too much from his salary to qualify for assistance but are unable to afford all of our bills and mortgage.
-- we're charging what we can (although we're young and have very little credit), so the rich get richer (banks, etc.) while the poor get poorer.
-- I have no family (literally) to help with DD, so I can't go find temporary work to help cover our bills.
But thank God I'm not a single parent relying on Head Start, or Federal food assistance, or some other necessary Federal program. We have it hard but not as bad as some. I'm praying for comfort for those who are being harmed by our "leaders'" selfish decisions.