As furloughed federal employees resume their responsibilities of rerouting air traffic, policing our national forests, pushing paper, and firing up the paper shredders at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the bill is coming due on the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
The stopgap budget signed late last week has a short life span, with an expiration date of Feb. 15 — an urgent call for Congress and the Executive Branch to work out a compromise or face yet another stalemate.
There were rumors of choirs throughout the swamp singing “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”
Ironically, the antics of congressional Democrats, who refused to negotiate with President Trump on national security, have cost the nation well more than $6 billion — more than the funds requested for the border wall — according to S&P Global Ratings analysis.
That’s roughly $1.71 million a day for a drama-fatiguing hissy fit. And we can thank the Democrats, again, for stealing the Benjamins right out of the American wallet.
What the Experts Say
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is claiming the U.S. economy lost closer to $11 billion over the 35-day scale back but concedes some $8 billion may be recovered now that the government is open for business and employees will receive paychecks retroactively.
That equates to $18 billion in federal spending on salaries and the subsequent purchase of goods and services by those 800,000 furloughed folks, and economists now estimate the economy grew about 2.5% at an annual rate in the fourth quarter and will expand at about a 2% pace in the current quarter.
Not great numbers but also not Armageddon.
Larry Kudlow, one of the president’s top economic advisers, told reporters, “When the government reopens — and I’m not here to negotiate; I’m not going to make a prediction, that’s up to the president — you will see an immediate snapback.”
Tan, Rested, and Ready
What we do know is that employees unloaded from subway trains, belching buses, and private vehicles to be welcomed as if they were royalty. Employees of the Federal Communications Commission were greeted in the lobby as long-missing war survivors by chairman Ajit Pai; over at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Monday-morning workers were plied with doughnuts, a healthy fruit bar, and coffee. There were rumors of choirs throughout the swamp singing “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”
And one Department of Homeland Security employee claimed to be “rested and ready to get back at it.”
So now we wait for the powers that be to sit down and get the job done. Perhaps the cost of a shutdown to punish a man they cannot stand for the successes he has already given this country is now an eye-opener — a simple line item of a scant $5.7 billion would have kept the economy vibrant and on track for additional growth.
But, no, the tyranny of the left has left a pockmark on 800,000 people and millions of Americans who want the wall. But beware: The Democrats’ war on the economy isn’t over just yet.