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Obama says it showed just how many things, large and small, the government does to help people.
Conservatives saw the opposite lesson — that federal workers can disappear without being missed.
There’s some evidence for both ideas.
Lots of people were inconvenienced and some lives were seriously disrupted, but most Americans weren’t personally touched by the shutdown. Less than one-third said someone in their home was affected, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted Oct. 7-9.
That doesn’t mean they shrugged off the effects beyond their front door.
About two-thirds in that poll felt the shutdown was harming the economy. Consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level in more than a year, according to Gallup polling.
Forget turkey dinners and sleigh bells in the snow. Washington’s new tradition is scaring holiday shoppers.
Last year politicians slowed sales by hanging the threat of a "fiscal cliff" over the holiday season, before working out a deal in the new year.
This year, the government shutdown already has taken a toll. Economists and Standard & Poor’s estimate that it cost the economy $24 billion, or about $75 for every U.S. resident.
Consumers may stay worried, especially if they hear bad news from Republican and Democratic lawmakers who are meeting over the next two months in hopes of reaching a spending deal to avert another fiscal standoff in January.
Sure, it’s embarrassing. America’s image took a hit. Other countries are snickering.
Obama says the latest spectacle depressed the nation’s friends and heartened its enemies. But it shouldn’t have surprised them much. The world has witnessed three years of stalemates and standoffs between Democrats and Republicans since the GOP won control of the House in 2010.
In the long view, the U.S. reputation, and especially its appeal for investors, doesn’t dent easily. After all, where else can the world park its money? Treasury bonds have scant competition as the safest place to stash reserves.
The latest brouhaha should fade quickly because it stopped short of the feared outcome — a default on Treasury bonds that would tarnish their spotless image.
If that threat remerges in January, the world will be watching.
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