Now that the shutdown is over, many of the politicians who triggered it are saying never again! Which is very much like what happened after the 31-day winter of 1995-96 when pols said much the same thing.
Instead of socking it to the bureaucracy, the shutdown amounted to a 16-day paid vacation for hundreds of thousands of federal workers. Many were stressed (especially when told they weren’t going to get paid), but most survived it intact. Some even came out rested.
Federal contractors and small businesses got hurt. Some to the point of going out of business. According to media estimates, the metro Washington area lost $217 million per day in lost wages. But that actual figure is much smaller because it includes feds (who will get paid) as well as contractors who won’t.
The true cost of the shutdown depends on which publications you read and which media outlets you watch. Standard & Poor’s said the U.S. lost $24 billion in economic output. Many states and cities lost big time tax revenue during the shutdown although much of it will be recouped. The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Travel Assocation estimated the tourism-travel industry lost $2.4 billion in ticket sales, lodging and the fact that many federal workers on official business were grounded.
But for many federal workers the shutdown turned out to be a welcome break. Here’s what two feds in the other Washington — Spokane and Colfax — said they did during their enforced vacations.
First, this e-mail from a fed in Spokane to her friend in Colfax:
Monitor news and cell phone
Pull wiring and install new lights on our deck,
Pull wiring and install new lights in our kitchen,
Tear off and replace many deck boards,
Install hardware on cabinets in the Master bathroom and the laundry room,
Install new outlet in the kitchen,
Washed my windows,
Mowed my grass,
Cleaned my house,
Kept my daughter out of school to spend time with her,
Lunches with friends,
Cooked yummy meals
First week resting up,
Spent the second week deep-cleaning the entire top story of my house,
Began climbing the walls this 3rd week!
Went through old papers of parents and found some really cool things like time card they year I was born.
Painted downstairs kitchen, upstairs hallway,
Made apple pies,
Gathered our 7 different kinds of tomatoes,
Took care of grandchildren,
Enjoyed the outdoors,
Got a horrible cold
Enjoyed bothering my husband.
Then Colfax telling Spokane what she did during the shutdown.
Completed painting the exterior of our rental house.
Harvested vegetables and stored winter squash
Treated strep throat in my 6 year old son.
Cleaned gutters and moss off the roof.
Pulled weeds in the garden and flower beds, not complete yet. I am glad to be back at work!
Worked on my budget and came up with a strategy for next time.
Spent as little money as possible.
Applied for unemployment – I need to take the secretary flowers … I have been working since I was 14, what a crazy time…
Chased Karlee, my two year old. Played in the Maple leaves at the park.
Visited friends and reconnected with my neighbors.
Made a raw food vegan salad as an experiment, not too bad… Would you like the recipe?
Picked Levi up at the bus stop.
Watched and listened to the news every day, wondering when Congress was going to complete the most basic task.
Overall it was a stressful staycation but we made the best out of it. I would not want to do this again in January.
Spent too much time on Facebook.
Took walks with and without Karlee.
Bought and transported two tons of pellets for heat this winter, we have one left over from last year.”
Bargain hunting may be in your DNA. Spotting a deal releases dopamine in your brain. However, some people have a flaw in what’s known as the COMT gene, which makes it hard for them to flush the feel-good chemical from their system.
POLL: How has the shutdown affected morale? Since the government reopened last week, many wonder what impact of the 16-day shutdown will have on the morale of the federal workforce. Federal News Radio wants to know how the shutdown has affected morale in your workplace. Take the poll and let us know.