What if They Had a Government Shutdown?

…and nobody cared?

A lot of financial sector data, for instance flow from the Federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Commerce.  However, these data also flow from private sector entities—organizations like the Institute of Supply Management (a host of forward- and backward-looking management surveys across a wide range of economic sectors), ADP (weekly jobs reports), the University of Michigan (confidence surveys), the Conference Board (roughly complementary confidence surveys), and so on.

Intuit makes, among other things, accounting and tax software—and it collects (with permission) employment data from 200,000+ businesses.  Its monthly employment reports, based on based on these real-time aggregated data, are current.  The best the government can do here (even when it isn’t shutdown) is eight months to a year behind real-time.


And there’s Google and Bing.

Separately, but related, comes this…admission…from the just “shutdown” government:

The EPA said its plan for dealing with a shutdown would classify 1,069 employees, out of 16,205, as essential.

The Feds are saying that some 93% of its EPA employees are nonessential.  It’s reasonable to extend from that that the vast majority of these nonessentials are, in fact, surplus.  The EPA is a relatively extreme example, but it illustrates the degree of fat in the Federal government that could be cut—that is being cut by the present shutdown, at least for the duration.

Next there’s the actual impact of this government shutdown.  80% of all Federal employees are still at work (the EPA, et al., notwithstanding).  Parks are closed, which inconveniences several travelers (other than WWII veterans who forced their way into their War Memorial with the help of some Republican Congressmen and the acquiescence of the Memorial’s guards, who had more sense than their Park Service employers), and other frankly similarly minor items, but the government remains fully functional.

Finally, there’s this Federal hardship: First Lady Michelle Obama’s office announced via Twitter: “Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited.”

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