USA Today: Shutdown Has Trivial, Unmeasurable Impact on Economy

OK, actually, they did not use the words "trivial" and "unmeasurable."  But they could have.  What they actually said in a story splashed across the front page:

The 16-day government shutdown cost the economy jobs, delayed mortgages and lost retail sales — at least $12 billion worth, and maybe as much as $24 billion

$12-24 Billion is between 0.08% and 0.15% of GDP.  This is for a shutdown of the government for 4.4% of the year (16 days divided by 365).   That hardly seems like a substantial impact, and not at all in line with the scare stories in advance of the shutdown.  (And this is coming from someone who was impacted a lot, though due to illegal actions by the administration).


  1. herdgadfly:

    Absolutely correct. What is a $12 - $24 billion or so among friends when the national debt exceeds $17 trillion?

  2. AMB:

    So, 2013 US Government Spending: 3.803 trillion

    4.4% of the year = 167.332 billion in spending

    The shutdown only covered about 17% of government, which means that it saved about 28.45 billion.

    So we saved 28.45 billion at the cost of losing, at most, 24 billion?

    Seems like a good deal to me...

  3. Eric H:

    I never get excited about this kind of metric until I know what the measurement error is. What is the error? +/-2% I would guess. Perhaps more, given how big the informal markets have probably gotten.

    Plus, given the way they measure GDP, it's probably BS anyhow. Consider: the only tangible cost to our company was that a shipment was returned (I don't know why - probably a shipment to a gov't facility or contractor who had gotten a notice). This means that we will have to re-ship now that the gov't is opened. This will show up as an *increase* in FedEx revenue.

    It's also interesting to note that Treasury went out and borrowed $328 B today, almost 14x what was "lost".

  4. obloodyhell:

    It's the government. They have no ephing idea about how much they cost or don't cost.

    }}} I never get excited about this kind of metric until I know what the measurement error is

    100% When you use funny gummint money accounting techniques, you have no ephing clue.

  5. LarryGross:

    DOD is a huge logistics machine. Every ship, base, aircraft have things like software and hardware upgrades - in process - like a huge conveyor.

    when this supply line gets interrupted - schedules slip, overtime is scheduled when they return and they try to catch up... and yes.. lots of money is spent in efforts to catch up.

    if you think all those aircraft carriers and Army/Marine bases scattered around the world don't feel the effects of
    shutting down their logistic supply lines.. operated mainly by civilians and contractors - you're just ignorant.

    I don't mean you are a "moron" just that you do not know - you don't even realize that you do not know.

    Shutdowns are damaging and costly to the military.. and it's logistics support. believe it.