There’s always been a lot of talk about the haves and have-nots.

These days in Washington it’s about the essentials and non-essentials. USA/

The two classes of federal workers would be starkly revealed by a government shutdown if Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement on spending by midnight Friday.

Those deemed to be non-essential, an estimated 800,000 federal workers, would be furloughed if the government shuts down as it did 15 years ago.

Here are some comments from “non-essential” workers on CNNMoney.com and the Huffington Post.

So what happens to non-essential employees (or “non-excepted” in government speak)? The White House Office of Management and Budget spells out the no-working rules: no working remotely such as from home, which means no using federal agency  Blackberries, cell phones, computers, and laptops.

On the semantics of the essential versus non-essential, Jeff Zients, OMB deputy director for management, said: “I think the easiest way to think about it is furloughed and non-furloughed employees.”