“We’re at the brink,” says Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), and boy wasn't she right as the clocks ticked down to tonight’s midnight deadline for the government shutdown. Twice today, the Senate voted down options to keep the government up-and-running and to delay implementation of the health care law for a year; options that were passed in the House.
Attempts to stall the speeding shutdown-express stalled themselves. The main controversy has been tied to the law dubbed “Obamacare,” and concessions on either side of the political aisle were rejected by the opposite side. Meanwhile, federal employees are anticipating work furloughs, student trips to the nation’s capital are rerouted and Americans are wondering how they’ll survive without the National Zoo panda cam. If it offers any satisfaction, MSNBC hosted a Shutdown Cam, as politicians pontificated to the very few members still in attendance with mere minutes left.
President Barack Obama, in a press briefing at close of business on Monday, put the bottom line up front, “Good afternoon, everybody. Of all the responsibilities the Constitution endows to Congress, two should be fairly simple: pass a budget, and pay America’s bills.” Obama took the opportunity to outline anticipated effects of the shutdown.
Actual economic burdens from a government shutdown are anticipated to be low, providing it lasts a few days say economy experts, as the stock market witnesses drops in fear of the shutdown. Approach a week-long shutdown however, and we start talking many billions lost. According to Moody’s Analytics economist Brian Kessler, a three- to four-week shutdown would cost the economy a rough $55 billion. Losses start multiplying when furloughed employee wages are added to cutbacks by businesses connected to the US Government.
Residual effects also roll out, harming small business, for example, when the Small Business Administration is unable to process loan applications or travel and tourism when State Department employees are not around to issue passports and visas.[Image via White House official website and National Zoo official Facebook.]