Our government has been shut down for two weeks. Here is what that means for our pocketbooks.
Some Head Start programs have shut down or lost teachers. That means that children whose parents would normally be working have to be taken care of. Workers stay home or spend extra money on baby sitters. That costs money for those parents, who mainly don’t have much money. It also costs businesses that employ them. Thanks, Aaron.
Alex Thevenin lost about $80,000 last week because of your vote. His family-owned Arizona Raft Adventures, a white-water rafting business in the Grand Canyon, and other similar small businesses, lost bookings in the final weeks of their season.
The Small Business Association says it will not be processing loans during the shutdown. Rep. Shock, your website says that “providing the incentives and benefits for small business” is one of your principles. Why isn’t that principle more important than shutting down the government?
Blood drives have been cancelled. Clinical trials for cancer patients at the National Institute of Health have been cancelled.
Although our military personnel will be paid during the shutdown, many services important to them will not be operational: Reserve training has been cancelled across the country; the Veterans Administration announced cutoff of some services and benefits; all subsidized grocery stores on military bases have been closed. By last week, defense contractor Lockheed Martin had sent home 2400 civilian workers in 27 states because of the shutdown. One Army officer said, “A week won’t make a significant difference. Two weeks and you might start to see readiness issues.” Now it’s two weeks.
Of course, the shutdown costs us all money as taxpayers, because of the daily work which is not getting done. Although some Republicans have been saying that are saving money by shutting the government down, they all voted to give all furloughed government workers back pay when the shutdown is over, negating all of those savings.
Bloomberg News compared the costs of the shutdown, which they estimated at over $2 billion, to the costs of the disastrous September floods in Colorado. But that’s just costs to the government. The wider costs to the national economy could reach $55 billion after three weeks, estimates an analyst from Moody’s Analytics.That’s equal to the total cost of the disruption caused by Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.
Organizations of American businesses have been pleading with the Republican extremists in Congress to stop their games. An October 1 survey by the National Association of Government Contractors found that nearly one-third of its 925 members were delaying hiring; more than half predicted a negative effect on their business. These are people who preferred Herman Cain to Barack Obama for President last year. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the shutdown costs the travel industry $152 million per day.
Representative Schock, on your website, you ask “How can I help?” On your Issues page, there is nothing about the shutdown. But on September 29, you voted for House Resolution 59, which continued government operations only if the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act were suspended. Twelve Republicans voted against that measure, which was an attempt to blackmail the Senate and the President into suspending an existing law. Why weren’t you among them?
I think the answer is that you’re afraid. You’re afraid that you’ll lose your position as Deputy Republican Whip. You’re afraid that somebody to the right of you will challenge you in 2014. Tea partiers are already trying to find a primary opponent. You’re afraid that you’ll lose your nice job as a Congressman, with its $174,000 a year salary. But you’re not afraid about the jobs of your constituents. You’re not afraid of sinking Illinois further into debt.
Caterpillar, Inc., the biggest employer in Peoria, was already laying off blue-collar workers before the shutdown in Peoria and Decatur. Are you helping them by your vote?
CNN has identified 200 Democrats and 18 Republicans who say they would vote for a “clean continuing resolution”, which would fund the government without demanding changes to Obamacare. They asked every member of the House, and keep asking, creating an updated list of those who would end this economic and personal disaster. But your name isn’t on their list – you say you won’t vote to end the shutdown. None of the six Illinois Republicans in the House would vote to end the shutdown.
Is your career more important than the national economy? Your home town paper, the Peoria Journal Star, who endorsed you in 2010 and 2012, came out for a clean resolution. You don’t even have the excuse that you are acting on principle. In August, you criticized Republicans who favored a government shutdown for “beating their chests”. Big words, but when it comes to voting, your constituents’ welfare disappears.
The time to lead is now.
Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, October 15, 2013