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The Real Impact of the Republican Government Shutdown

With just two days until a Republican Government Shutdown, American workers, their families and businesses large and small are bracing themselves for the devastating impact of the latest round of GOP dysfunction.

From NBC News:

If past is prologue, a looming government shutdown could actually cost U.S. taxpayers money.  A lot of money.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the two shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 cost taxpayers $1.4 billion combined. Adjust for inflation and you’ve got $2 billion in today’s dollars…

Fiscal Times:

$150 million a day. That’s the price-tag to taxpayers for closing down the government. In 1995, the record three-week closing cost a $1.25 billion or $1.9 billion in today’s dollars.

Chicago Tribune:

The National Park Service would close all 401 national parks and give overnight campers two days to leave. Calls to the IRS would go unanswered…

Approximately half the government’s civilian workforce, about 1.2 million employees, is expected to face furloughs.

Washington Post:

The Department of Veterans Affairs told Congressional officials late Friday that all benefit checks it issues, including disability claims and pension payments, will be disrupted if a government shutdown lasts for more than two or three weeks, according to congressional sources.

ABC News:

Suspension of Approval of Applications for Small Business Loans…One department where workers would likely have to hunker down while the shutdown plays out is the Small Business Administration, which, among other things, approves applications for loans to small businesses. These services would probably be suspended in a shutdown and depending on how long the last shutdown lasted, applications could get backlogged, meaning the impact could be felt even after the government reopens…

Medical Research Interrupted. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would not be able to take on any new patients, or begin any new clinical trials…

Boston Globe:

Across Massachusetts and around the country, millions of people face losing government benefits ranging from heating oil to nutrition assistance, or delays in processing of Social Security claims and college loans, if Congress fails to reach a budget deal by Oct. 1 and forces a shutdown. Law enforcement, military, and other essential services would continue through a shutdown but virtually all other government functions would cease.

Motley Fool:

Our economy is founded on the principle that consumer spending and consumption will drive growth. If federal workers have nothing but IOUs in their hands, how can we expect the economy to grow? Perhaps deep-discount variety stores could see a boost in business, such as dollar store operator Dollar General, which caters to a very cost-conscious audience with transparent pricing. However, the vast majority of retailers would struggle if this government shutdown extended for any significant length of time. Banks would presumably suffer, too, as loan delinquencies would be expected to rise with only IOUs in the hands of government employees.

Daily Ticker:

Slower & Fewer Mortgage Approvals. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which accounts for about a quarter of first-time mortgages, would either not make loans or make a lot less loans if the government shuts down…

Wall Street Journal:

When a town sees a sudden cut in employment – even furloughs – that cut is felt in local businesses — where there is suddenly less money to be spent at the grocery store or the diner. This is similar to what happens when a company town’s big employer cut hours or jobs. And, of course, any economic effects are multiplied if those furloughs are extended.

What do we know about these high government-employment counties?

By and large, they aren’t wealthy. About three-quarters of them have a median household income of under $50,000. 

The Columbian:

Steve Lurch, executive director and chief economist at the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, said if Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill on time, and if it can’t raise the nation’s debt limit by mid-October, “we know that will have a big impact on consumer confidence and on the economy, and that’s certainly a risk we’re watching.”

Wall Street Journal:

“People don’t really understand how this works,” said Mr. Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum. “Shutting the government down is bad idea. It’s a bad policy and a bad political move at this point in time.”

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