What the Government Shutdown Cost Us

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Nothing good came out of the federal government shutdown, and there was plenty of bad.

The U.S. government is back, and we avoided the worst-case scenario — a default on America’s debt and a resulting worldwide financial collapse. But a government shutdown of more than two weeks didn’t do us any favors either.

For instance, many reports suggested the shutdown would hurt small business, and it did, especially in towns surrounding national parks and other government-dependent areas.

“Pete’s Diner & Carryout, a 50-year-old Capitol Hill eatery frequented by House Speaker John Boehner, lost about 80 percent of its usual business,” Bloomberg says. “For thousands of small businesses, this was no glitch. It’s money that can’t be easily recovered, creating a long-term ripple effect — with the holidays approaching — that will be difficult to forget.”

Here are some of the other effects, according to Bloomberg, CNNTime and other sources:

  • Standard & Poor’s estimates the shutdown cost us at least 0.6 percent of fourth-quarter 2013 gross domestic product growth, or $24 billion.
  • While Congress authorized back pay for federal government employees who were furloughed, thousands of workers for private contractors have no such luck. (Federal agencies award private contractors about $1.4 billion a day, on average.)
  • Consumer confidence — a measure of how comfortable people are spending money right now — plunged to the lowest level in nearly two years. This, among other things, slowed new car sales and home purchases.
  • Some college students in the military dropped out of classes because the Defense Department’s tuition assistance program was shut down.
  • No new craft beers were introduced during the shutdown, because the federal government couldn’t process applications.

Additionally, a Macroeconomic Advisers report suggested the ongoing budget battles are continually increasing unemployment, Bloomberg says. It’s estimated that Congress cost us about 900,000 jobs this year.

And Wednesday’s budget deal wasn’t a permanent fix. It only agreed to fund the government through Jan. 15 and lift the debt ceiling through Feb. 7.

Stacy Johnson

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