HOW GREAT IS THE EFFECT OF THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

ship-in-port ship-in-portWhat’s the next “crisis” point in our conflicts over government shutdown and debt ceiling?  I think there are probably two of them.

The first “crisis” relates to the news cycle. As the weekend approaches and the news cycle hits its weekly low point, our leaders will begin considering what they most want to do when no one is watching. Like as not, Republicans could cave.  So this would be a good time to contact the more spineless Republican congress men and women.

The second “crisis” has to do with trade.  This article, United States: Closing Time: How The Government Shutdown Affects Global Trade, lists what activities continue during the shutdown. It does not sound like there is a problem, and it is hard to believe there would be one.  Consider this excerpt from another article.

Unlike the other federal agencies, Customs and Border Protection hasn’t seen its work force as severely furloughed, the JOC said. Only 6,000 of the 58,000 CBP workers were furloughed after the government shut down over President Obama’s health care law. (from here)

In fact retail imports seem to be doing well.

Washington, D.C. — Despite concerns over the government shutdown, import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to grow 9.1% in October over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Monday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. The numbers reflect merchandise ordered months before the shutdown as retailers planned for the holiday season. (continued here)

Fortunately for the Obama Administration, there is one agency we can depend upon to be down for the fight.

While the government shutdown has spurred much discussion over the fate of federal food surveillance, the agriculture industry may soon feel the biggest impact from furloughs at another federal agency: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In the 10 days since the shutdown went into effect, millions of dollars of imported agricultural chemicals have been stuck at U.S. ports because EPA personnel are not on hand to approve them for entry.

If the shutdown persists for weeks or months, the issue could have a much bigger impact on the food supply than furloughs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Edward Ruckert, an agriculture and trade attorney at McDermott Will & Emery in Washington, D.C. (continued here)

You think it’s essential that people eat? Don’t count on it.  Bloomberg provides similar reports in Trade Hindered as Shutdown Slows Goods Traffic at Ports. What’s adds to the confusion is that we don’t have enough information.

In another alarming development, Beacon Economics’ California Trade Report will not be released this month due to the Federal government shutdown. The U.S. Department of Commerce statistics necessary to analyze foreign trade for the month of August have become another casualty in the Congressional budget impasse that has shuttered non-essential Federal government operations since October 1.

“Federal government statisticians are not regarded as essential personnel, even though the information they provide allow us to chart the health of our economy,” says Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser. (from here)

Lacking concrete data allows the corporate news media to magnify the “crisis” and speculate endlessly. Nevertheless, we know the shutdown appears to be hurting exports more than imports.

Exports may be impacted because of the process in which material goes through before it reaches the port. In the article, “Layoffs and Production Disruptions Loom at Firms Tied to U.S.” by James R. Hagerty, Doug Cameron and John W. Miller of The Wall Street Journal, exports are a reported concern for some manufacturers. The authors refer to Superior Products LLC in Cleveland; it exports 30-40 percent of its products, some of which carry liquid natural gas used to fuel trucks and other vehicles. Their Executive Vice President Greg Gens says, “If our ability to export is hurt by backlogs of paperwork and inspections, we would be hurt quite a bit. It won’t take long for our customers overseas to start looking for other people to fill their orders. (from here)

Like it or not, there is a price to be paid for the government shutdown. Because some insist upon using government to impose their will upon others, we war with each other. Even though there are no bullets flying, there will be casualties.  Don’t be fooled into believing otherwise. Liberty comes at a price.

19 thoughts on “HOW GREAT IS THE EFFECT OF THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

  1. You made the comparison, Tom. I rejected it. I called a paragraph in your early comment platitudinous blather. You said Lincoln’s words were either “platitudinous blather” or that I would regard them as “platitudinous blather.” I thought it important to reject that peculiar notion, given that I hold Lincoln, his ideas, and his use of language in extremely high esteem.

    I, of course, agree that I am not very clever. I don’t know you well enough to form an opinion about you. I do think that “bit players” in the Lord’s plan can be quite clever fellows, however. Cleverness is one of His many gifts, but it is doled out rarely and it is a gift frequently squandered or abused.

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