Your Opinion: Costs, chemistry of the shutdown
Sunday, October 27, 2013
In my previous submission I addressed only the procedural factors that defined our journey to shut down and sabotaging our “full faith and credit.” This story would be inadequately addressed without reviewing the chemistry and costs.
There is little doubt that the conservative core of the House Republican caucus drove the dynamics that ended in shutdown and threat to default; that most traditional Republicans understood the futility of the dynamic; and that the final result would be what it was for all practical purposes.
The Obamacare strategy witnessed the same fortune as a Democratic Congress refusing to fund the government and/or default on the debt unless President Bush had rolled back his signature tax law.
More importantly the nation lost $24 billion in economic activity and GDP growth was diminished by .6 percent from a previously projected 3 percent.
Colorado farmers like Dave Petrocio who lost 110 acres of onions and cabbage in the rains in Weld County could not get help from the Farm Services Agency. The agency personnel along with 800,000 other federal employees were furloughed! Ranchers throughout the Dakotas surveying the loss of potentially 200,000 head to an early snow storm lost access to the same agency while confronting financial disaster. The number of kids losing Head Start in the shutdown exploded from 3,200 to 57,000 by the conclusion.
By Oct. 4, 3,000 aviation inspectors were placed on furlough. Aviation inspectors ensure commercial carriers perform appropriate maintenance and that mechanics and services performed are not diluted by the kind of cost savings that spawned BP’s Gulf spill.
The intelligence community lost 72 percent of its civilian staff in the first week. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission experienced its last full day of operations on Oct. 9. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigated the west Texas fertilizer explosion until required to cease operations on Oct. 9.
By Oct. 9, as the debt ceiling approached, Fidelity Investments, the largest mutual fund holder, sold all its short-term treasuries and the interest charged for those treasuries required additional premiums or costs, more bluntly increased debt.
After all this pain caused to admittedly demonstrate a fact-of-life to the Republican tea party caucus, I insist that we cannot endure another “teaching moment.” More worryingly, Congressman Luetkemeyer and Congresswoman Hartzler voted to keep it closed and default. Not very responsible!