Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The government shutdown "is abstract for most Americans," writes Axios' Mike Allen, but it's about to get very real very quickly. In the markets, nothing's going to get SEC approval while the shutdown is in effect. That means no IPOs, just for starters.

What's happening: The government also attempted to halt bankruptcy proceedings at a nursing-home chain, blaming the shutdown. Both debtors and creditors agree that would put patient health at risk. As Mike says, crunch time is coming. The shutdown will impose real hardship on the nation and its economy.

  • Most government workers' first payday without pay is fast approaching.
  • Food stamps for 38 million Americans could be reduced or even run out entirely.
  • Taxpayers who expect a tax refund want to file their taxes early. But with no IRS workers issuing refunds, that's not going to help them. The absence of tax refunds, in turn, is going to remove a formerly reliable boost to America's winter economy.

Our thought bubble: Mike thinks media coverage of those hardships could end up forcing the president's hand.

Go deeper: The force that could end the shutdown

Go deeper

How small businesses got stiffed by the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The story of American businesses in the coronavirus pandemic is a tale of two markets — one made up of tech firms and online retailers as winners awash in capital, and another of brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops that is collapsing.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created an environment where losing industries like traditional retail and hospitality as well as a sizable portion of firms owned by women, immigrants and people of color are wiped out and may be gone for good.

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.

Survey: Fears grow about Social Security’s future

Data: AARP survey of 1,441 U.S. adults conducted July 14–27, 2020 a ±3.4% margin of error at the 95% confidence level; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Younger Americans are increasingly concerned that Social Security won't be enough to wholly fall back on once they retire, according to a survey conducted by AARP — in honor of today's 85th anniversary of the program — given first to Axios.

Why it matters: Young people's concerns about financial insecurity once they're on a restricted income are rising — and that generation is worried the program, which currently pays out to 65 million beneficiaries, won't be enough to sustain them.