With the 81 - 18 vote in the U.S. Senate and 285 - 144 tally in the U.S. House, Congress averted a worldwide economic disaster this week by finally voting to end the 16-day, 'Tea-Party' manufactured shutdown and debt ceiling crises.
As CNN noted, shortly after President Barack Obama signed the measure into law, Congress has furnished only a "temporary bandage," which leaves the draconian "sequester" cuts in place, authorizes government spending at current levels through Jan. 15, 2014 and postpones the same threat of a default on the nation's financial obligations until Feb. 7, 2014.
Meanwhile, radical 'Tea Party' Republicans, like Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, insisted "this was worth having the fight," even as they were conceding absolute defeat.
Worth it? Well, not to actual fiscal conservatives, according to the numbers...
The economic consulting firm, IHS Global Insight says the 16-day shutdown cost the U.S. government alone some $4.8 billion. Those numbers, "about $1.6 billion a week, $300 million a day, or $12.5 million an hour...cover just the cost in work and services the government is unable to perform," as federal workers were furloughed, NBC reported.
Standard & Poor's, according to The Hill, pegs the real cost of the Republican shutdown to the full U.S. economy to be "at least $24 billion", as it shaved some .6% of economic growth off the nation's GDP.
[Despite the "default denialists" heard over the last week in the 'Tea Party', it would have been much worse than even that, had a deal not been struck at the last minute. John Chambers, the global head of S&P's sovereign ratings committee, said this week, according to a Newsweek exclusive, that the agency was just minutes away from changing the U.S. credit rating from it's already lowered AA+ to "selective default", "the lowest of S&P’s 20 grades of untrustworthiness." The only other country to have that distinction? Grenada.]
The bi-partisan bill ultimately passed to re-open the government and avoid federal default also mandates back pay to furloughed government employees, much of it for public services never provided to the American people. To top it off, The Hill also reports that, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, the bill ultimately agreed to by Republicans will "increase total authorized spending by $1.2 billion."
But that's not all. Today, the Los Angeles Times details how the "economic hit" from the shutdown "could endure." The paper asserts "the extent of the economic harm goes well beyond what can be immediately tallied: lost business deals and disrupted research; a hit to consumer confidence; and what many see as permanent damage to U.S. credibility around the world." The disturbing examples provided by the Times include the possible inability of the National Science Foundation to salvage important data from a halted, below-ice environmental study in Antarctica.
Oh, well, from the standpoint of climate science denialists, halting anything that might lead to further confirmation of global climate change would be considered "worth it," no?
To a Republican Party which pretends to be concerned about fiscal conservatism --- even as these numbers and many others show they clearly are not --- any "victory" found amidst this shutstorm will have to do.