You might assume that the government shutdown is at least saving money and shrinking the deficit. But you'd be wrong. "The shutdown will actually be very expensive and will wind up costing the taxpayers and the economy far more than the regular operations of government," the New York Times points out in an editorial today. The 1995 and 1996 shutdowns cost the government $1.4 billion over 26 days, and one research firm pegs the cost of today's shutdown at about $300 million a day, and rising.
Congress is still getting paid and usually grants back pay to employees—even those who didn't work—so no money is saved there. The closed government can't collect fines or fees. Contractors add the lost time to their bills, and increase their rates to account for the risk of future shutdowns. And there's a tangible cost to the sheer productivity we're losing, and the work backlog it's generating. "This heavy cost is entirely unnecessary," the Times argues. "The same people who have built their careers on railing about the deficit are actually increasing it." Click for the full piece. (Read more government shutdown stories.)