The government shutdown which was so gleefully welcomed by so many conservative Tea Party Republicans and libertarians throughout the country placed 818,000 working people and their families in limbo. Now that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the House Republicans have temporarily laid off hundreds of thousands of workers, they should be obligated to provide an impact study on what happens to the economy when 800,000 middle-class workers are sent home for the day.
The number of affected workers is staggering and some Republicans and libertarians seem to be saying, "Good! We don't need these people anyway." According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Christian, director of government affairs at Citizens Against Government Waste, found the approach to reducing government spending and pruning waste through a shutdown to be "intuitive."
Even if that was true, no one in the Tea Party has produced a plan for what happens to all of these people in the event that they aren't returned in whole to their jobs. Cruz and his right-wing cronies have not produced a study that shows how many non-governmental contractors and workers would be impacted by a prolong shutdown. They don't seem concerned with all of the small businesses that support and rely on these federal workers to stay in business. Hank Silverberg of wtop.com, a Washington D.C. news outlet, wrote that "Thousands of people who work for small businesses with huge federal contracts could also be affected. " One of those communities is Fairfax, Virginia, home to 4,100 contractors. A prolonged government shutdown could impact their revenue base of $26 billion.
The GOP must also not be aware of all the day workers in the food industry that can't afford to miss a day's wages and tips as a result of Washington being shut down. Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University told Fox Business News that "dining and retail will be the first to get hit by a shutdown."
They aren't concerned with the local economies impacted by a shutdown. The National Parks Conservation Association estimates that the local economies that derive much of their revenue from the national parks could lose as much as $30 million a day. The Washington Post noted that "each person furloughed means less money spent at local businesses or vendors."
The Republicans favoring a shutdown only seem interested in making political hay out of the notion of delaying Obamacare, a law that was implemented on the day they forcibly removed working Americans from the labor force and threw a monkey wrench in the nation's economy.
Estimates are that 25% of the federal government has been shut down, including the Environmental Protection Agency, national parks, museums and zoos, much of the National Institute of Health, and NASA. The Department of Defense announced that half of its civilian workforce would be furloughed, 50% of Pentagon workers. 82% of the Department of Labor, 95% of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, all but 3 of the over 2,400 workers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 90% of the staff at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been sent home. 65% of the State Department would be furloughed.
And before you cheer on the shutdown of some of these agencies know that the Centers for Disease Control would not be able to assist in the annual monitoring of the flu season or track the outbreak of multi-state diseases. The FDA would shut down food inspections and the NIH would suspend some clinical trials for cancer research. Homeland Security would shut down the eVerify system, the ATF would stop processing gun permits, the Bureau of Land and Management would stop processing permits for oil and gas drilling on federal lands and needy families, including infant and expectant mothers would have their heating, food and home assistance services possibly interrupted.
All 28% of the federal government workforce, including 41% of non-defense related employees, will wonder if this is what life will be like as long as Ted Cruz and the House Tea Party Republicans have any influence over their jobs. The rest of us will hope that only $300 million a day is lost as a result of the shutdown.