When you add together the cost of removing government services for 16 days, not paying 2 million people for their jobs, closing national parks and tourist attractions, and all the other recognizable costs of the government shutdown, you get $24 billion, according to the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.
“We believe that to date, the shutdown has shaved at least 0.6% off of annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth, or taken $24 billion out of the economy,” S&P wrote in a statement on the day that the Senate and House passed legislation to end the government shutdown.
S&P went on to say, in so many words, we really didn’t think you guys were this dumb (emphasis added):
“The bottom line is the government shutdown has hurt the U.S. economy. In September, we expected 3% annualized growth in the fourth quarter because we thought politicians would have learned from 2011 and taken steps to avoid things like a government shutdown and the possibility of a sovereign default. Since our forecast didn't hold, we now have to lower our fourth-quarter growth estimate to closer to 2%.”
Standard & Poor’s is expected to be stilted and reserved in their language, there is the obvious subtext of blaming the Tea Party for their strategy of threatening a government shutdown and a default on the debt if they did not get their way. What’s more, it is clear from the statements of Tea Party legislators that they did not learn their lesson. They have united around the message of “we lost the battle, but we’re fighting the good fight, and we will win the war.”
Good for you, Tea Party, but next time it would be nice if your battles didn’t involve wasting $24 billion of the country’s money in the name of fiscal conservatism.