I talked with a federal employee yesterday about the recent government shut down. She said that it was stressful until Congress voted to pay the furloughed employees even if they weren’t working. Then it became a matter of tedious waiting to go back to work.
The report explains in detail the economic, budgetary, and programmatic costs of the shutdown. These costs include economic disruption, negative impacts on Federal programs and services that support American businesses and individuals, costs to the government, and impacts on the Federal workforce.
First, Federal employees were furloughed for a combined total of 6.6 million days, more than in any previous government shutdown. At its peak, about 850,000 individuals per day were furloughed. That number fell once most Department of Defense civilian employees were able to return to work as the Pentagon implemented the Pay Our Military Act.
Third, the shutdown had significant negative effects on the economy. The Council of Economic Advisers has estimatedthat the combination of the shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship resulted in 120,000 fewer private sector jobs created during the first two weeks of October. And multiple surveys have shown that consumer and business confidence was badly damaged.
The report highlights some of the more direct impacts the shutdown had on the economy by shutting down government services. For example:
-Federal permitting and environmental and other reviews were halted, delaying job-creating transportation and energy projects.
-Import and export licenses and applications were put on hold, negatively impacting trade.
-Federal loans to small businesses, homeowners, and families in rural communities were put on hold.
-Private-sector lending to individuals and small businesses was disrupted, because banks and lenders couldn’t access government income and Social Security Number verification services.
-Travel and tourism was disrupted at national parks and monuments across the country, hurting the surrounding local economies.
-Hundreds of patients were prevented from enrolling in clinical trials at the National Institutes of
-Almost $4 billion in tax refunds were delayed.
-Agencies from the Food and Drug Administration to the Environmental Protection Agency had to cancel health and safety inspections, while the National Transportation Safety Board was unable to investigate airplane accidents in a timely fashion.
-Critical government-sponsored scientific research was put on hold. Notably, four of the five
Nobel prize winning scientists who work for the Federal government were furloughed during the shutdown.
The report makes clear that the costs and impacts of the shutdown were significant and widespread, and demonstrates why this type of self-inflicted wound should not occur again.