So the US government is down to essential personnel only, today.
Note the sky has not fallen.
Note, also, that the Earth continues to spin on its axis and revolve around the sun.
The Nation has not fallen into chaos.
I've been through this in the Clinton ear and was considered 'essential personnel' back in the day. Which meant I had to go to work for warfighter support.
Who else had to go to work?
Guards, you need guards and the security people.
The people in the boiler room and HVAC, yeah you needed them, too.
Our office manager, although without secretary, which is the first time I actually got to see anyone in management actually have to do, you know, work. Type their own letters. Get the office mail (what there was of it). Track secure packages. Sign off on work product. That sort of thing.
There was someone at the mail room but that is because the loading dock had to be open, and their boss covered the mail room, as well. The mail room staff, you know the people who package and sort stuff, they weren't there and you had to DIY packaging for any outgoing packages.
Who wasn't there? Whole cadres of mid-level and upper-level managers, the GS-13 through GS-15 types, save for one GS-15 per Directorate. The rest? Gone. Lights off.
Cafeteria workers were not there.
Nor was the EEO staff.
Or any of the Human Resources staff, except their boss.
Janitorial crew was skeleton, enough to clean the washrooms and any other messes that showed up.
Grounds people were missing.
And anyone who didn't have work product headed to the warfighter, they were not there.
Basically the building I was in was mostly empty save for the rooms dedicated to actually getting stuff made to go out the door, and people to take it out the door to couriers.
I have a suggestion for a CR.
Make it an 'essential staff only' CR and put it in for a few months until everyone can get settled down to trying to figure out what is and isn't needed any more.
The debt will get maintenance payments.
The military will be on duty.
SSA and M&M checks will get processed.
As the Interstates are actually a military requirement during the Cold War, they can get to do repair work on it... give the USACE something to do beyond pork spending.
The border will have people manning it.
USPTO will be open.
USPS too, come to that, as well as USGS, or at least those parts actually making maps and charts.
A few other select places covered by the US Constitution would be open.
It's interesting that while Ambassadors are mentioned in the Constitution, a State Dept. isn't. Maybe we can get the military to run the rest of it?
Do that for long enough and it becomes the 'new normal'.
Six to eight months ought to do it, and then the GAO which will be open on skeletal staff, can start to shut down buildings and auction off equipment... and then the buildings themselves...
And if President Obama wants to do it his way or the highway on the debt ceiling, then he should be thanked for wanting to run a government on $2.5 trillion/year and not on $4 trillion a year! Tell him that he will be admired for his fiscal astuteness that the government should only spend what it takes in and that a skeleton 'essential personnel only' government is a good start on that process.
Always give an enemy what they want in a way they will not like and will look duplicitous in refusing.
Works every time.