As the talking heads promise doom and gloom or simply shrug about the effects of the shutdown on everyday Americans, a number of restaurant owners have already become victims of the predicted $300 million daily predicted loss in economic output. That's a $12.5 million per hour, for those who don't want to do the math. And perhaps the hourly stat is more appropriate, as its restaurant owners like this one who are being put out of business. That is, main street America — the people I seem to remember both parties pledging to help come election time — are those being hurt.
What news media is dubbing "the Battle of Yorktown" began six days ago, as the National Park Service gave Glenn Helseth, owner of the Carrot Tree Kitchen Restaurant, 48 hours to close down his business due to its location in a National Park Service building. Glenn, however, had different plans. "Mama," one of his most dedicated customers, wanted "to eat Brunswick stew, ham biscuits, and carrot cake." It was Mama's 100th birthday Tuesday, and she's celebrated every birthday at Carrot Tree for at least the past decade. In Helseth's words, "i'm serving Brunswick stew...if that gets me put in jail, I'm going to jail."
Turns out the Yorktown, Virginia premises — a city that has witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis, hosted Presidents, and survived since 1720 — couldn't weather the arbitrary world of departmental permits. Depending on permit and location many businesses on National Park Service property are allowed to remain open; miners, loggers, and drillers, are still being allowed on National Park Service land while the little guys are being hurt. City Tavern of Philadelphia is set to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars as the shutdown drags on.
It seems a fitting irony that many of the founding father's favorite haunts are being conveniently ignored. Taxation without representation, anyone?