In a stunning development, with the government shutdown having removed the young aides who take his calls, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has been left to answer his own phone.

According to Politico, White House staff trimming has forced “essential” workers like Carney to do the “nonessential” things that suddenly seem more “essential” than thought. Like answering the phone, sending out press releases, and so forth.

The problem pervades the White House. The Council of Economic Advisors, for example, is down to four employees from two dozen, though given the CEA’s performance, it may not make much of a difference. Actually, we might soon be seeing some positive effects.

Read More: