Four things we learned from government shutdown

Posted at 11:52 AM, Oct 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-18 13:52:35-04

By Michael Martinez

(CNN) — Whew, it’s all over, folks — the twin crises of government shutdown and national default countdown. At least for now.

This one wasn’t easy. And we’ll be talking about it for a while.

That’s just one of the four lessons we take away from this calamity in our capital.

A walk in the park

We love our parks. Boy, do we love our national parks. That was evident in a public outcry, on social media and elsewhere.

Isn’t it nice that in our deprivation, we found something to appreciate?

The shuttered national parks didn’t stop some visitors from trying to sneak onto back roads or lookout points to steal a quiet view of nature. However, armed park rangers who were mandated to work during the shutdown thwarted many motorists by swinging the road gates closed.

The Grand Old Party isn’t so grand

It’s a great thing to have conservatives and liberals giving us different viewpoints on how to run the country, but the Republican Party — the party of President Lincoln — now seems a house divided.

Can the GOP heal an internal rift between establishment conservatives and the new conservatives of the tea party? For the moment, the Republicans are cited as the top cause for the shutdown, evidenced by a CNN/ORC poll showing the GOP is the biggest target of American anger, with 63% of respondents venting their ire at them. Democrats fared only slightly better, however, with 58% expressing anger at them, too. And 53% were angry at President Barack Obama.

Economic damage

For a country fresh out of a great recession, the 16-day shutdown was costly: It took $24 billion out of the economy, Standard & Poor’s says.

As a result, the United States will grow 2.4% — instead of 3% — this quarter, meaning there won’t be as many new jobs that many American families desperately need in the post-recession era.

A sequel

As difficult as this drama was, there will be a Part II.

The Hollywood horror genre doesn’t have anything over Washington.

The government is funded until January 15 — meaning Americans will be forced to witness another round of Democrat-Republican budget negotiations.

It gets better, or worse, depending on your viewpoint: The debt ceiling will have to be revisited, too, by February 7.

All this makes some economists worry that Americans will now be afraid to invest, create jobs, and go shopping this holiday season.

Perhaps John Chambers, managing director of Standard and Poor’s rating service, put it best:

“We think that we’ll be back here in January debating the same issues,” Chambers said. “This is, I fear, a permanent feature of our budgetary process.”

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