Shutdown, What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing.



Motoconomist is a motorcycle riding economist comfortably squirreled away in the bowels of the federal bureaucracy, whose normal day job involves helping prevent the mistakes of the Great Recession. So far so good, but luck has to run out at some point. He lives in the Washington, DC Metro Area with his wife, his dog, and his 5 month old baby daughter. He often rambles about housing policy and urban growth on twitter as @motoconomist.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    My state had a 793-day budget impasse a few years ago, so I’m pretty jaded to this kind of stuff. The impasse went on for so long because the courts intervened to require payment of government workers, though for the most part not the vendors, contractors, universities and local governments. What precipitated passage of a budget was a suggestion in a state supreme court decision that the payments were not legal, and the Attorney General began efforts to set aside lower court injunctions. The end will come when the political class senses that they will be blamed for the pain.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I agree with everything said here. (and I’m guessing most everyone else does too, to one degree or another, thus the low comment count)Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Oh, and this post basically rules you out as being this guy.

    (though that would be a heck of a misdirection) 😉Report

  4. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Yeah, what Kolohe said. This shutdown is hurting a lot of people, not just the enployees directly involved but the customers of those people as well as folks that normally get a fair amount of business from those folks. Ripples spreading in the pond.

    But I gotta say that I haven’t really felt it directly and I think that’s likely true for most folks. But I think that’s going to start changing as time goes on. There are reports of TSA officers calling in sick, not because they’re protesting or anything, but because they simply don’t have the money for gas to get to work. Others are looking for other work. This could cause staffing headaches for some time if it isn’t resolved soon.

    The thing is, we can all point to things where we think the government is doing too much or whatever, but that isn’t how this works. You don’t get to pick and choose, it’s not quite random really but sorta.Report

  5. Avatar James K says:

    Nothing to argue with here motoconomist, the whole thing seems especially strange to someone used to the Westminster system.

    Also, welcome to the site, from one government economist to another.Report

  6. Avatar Pinky says:

    I don’t want to stir up anything here, but is it entirely ethical for a person to be writing an opinion piece as a government employee? Moreover, taking a side on a partisan issue while making reference to the economics of the situation, while identifying himself as a federal economist?Report

    • Perfectly fine to speak your own opinion on your own. The only issue would be if claiming to speak on behalf of your gov’t role, or using that role to promote the opinion.Report

      • Avatar Motoconomist says:

        Yep. Which is one reason why I never identify my agency when I write.

        I can’t put up a sign endorsing to vote for so and so in my office, but I can say I worry about the impact of furlough on government workers.Report

  7. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    Government employees do not forfeit the right to their opinions or to expressing them. Assuming he wrote this on his own time and is not a government official claiming to speak on behalf of his agency, he’s fine.Report

    • Avatar Philip H says:

      That is legally true. However, as James Hansen will attest, speaking out too often or too vocally will get you in a lot of trouble nonetheless.

      Of course I say this as a vocal federal employee.Report

  8. Avatar Damon says:

    What’s the shutdown been good for? TRAFFIC.
    My commute is vastly easier there are so many cars not on the road. If it keeps up, we might be looking at re-evaluation the need for so many of these workers. RIF baby.Report