With hours until a federal government shutdown, congressional leaders have reached a stalemate. Once a shutdown incurs, the US economy will likely react negatively, and many ‘non-essential’ services will begin to close down. Probably one of the more dangerous aspects of a shutdown is that its impacts are progressive: the longer the shutdown lasts, the more money is lost.
The Economic Impact Circa 2013
According to Josh Hicks at the Washington Post, the US economy may have lost approximately $24 Billion in economic output during the 2013 shutdown. The national parks lost $450,000.00 a day in revenue and the overall impact of a shutdown is a net detriment to growth. Libertarians shouldn’t be jumping for joy with this shutdown either, it’s something both Republicans and Democrats want to avoid, and it’s something that shouldn’t be tagged with other policy issues.
Who Do We Blame?
So who’s to blame in the face of an impending economic slowdown? The answer is complex and really unclear. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to find common ground with Senator Schumer, and Politico reports that the senate was in a state of ‘Disarray’. Mitch and Chuck began blaming their fellow senators and the finger-pointing game began before a compromise was even attempted. The senate majority attempted to find a path forward for several months, but due to the polarization of cornerstone issues such as CHIP and DACA, the obstacles become larger than the end goal. Instead of even scheduling a vote, senators fought through the night as to who is to blame. Keep in mind this is happening all while Senator Rand Paul is metaphorically holding a sign with our $20 trillion-dollar deficit in the back of the room.
The challenge of finding a bipartisan deal to fund our federal government is one that needs to be dealt with, but it seems typical of congressional leaders to procrastinate to the point of shutdown before actual policy begins to take shape. The awful part of this entire debacle for Americans is the fact that lawmakers don’t have time to truly address the policy issues from an analytical and realistic perspective. With only hours to find short-term resolutions, the topics that actually matter aren’t getting the time they deserve. Senator Durbin remains positive but the stench of irony here is almost unbearable.
““For the first time, we finally started talking about real issues: the Dream Act, citizenship and border security in more specific terms… So far, we’ve been talking about generalities. But today, we got more specific. So I hope it’s a promising beginning.”
-Senator Durbin, Illinois (D)
Americans should prepare for a shutdown which seems inevitable at this point. Wall street will likely take a dip, and the strong economic growth curve that Trumps administration enjoyed will begin to shift downward. It’s a lesson for all of us who watch lawmaking as a hobby, a lesson that we should try to avoid if we ever happen to find ourselves in those very same chambers.