Federal workers and contractors, along with their unions, demonstrate against the partial government shutdown in the Hart Building on Jan. 23. The recent shutdown was just another blow to the nation’s economic psyche, already reeling from December’s stock market downturn, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
OPINION — The Congressional Budget Office told us this week that the U.S. economy is likely to take a $3 billion hit from the partial government shutdown, assuming federal employees will get their back pay. $3 billion is a significant amount, but it is likely to have a relatively small impact in the context of a nearly $20 trillion economy. What the estimate doesn’t measure, of course, are specific personal impacts on people, families and small businesses.
The shutdown was just one more blow, if a minor one, to the nation’s economic psyche, which took a beating in December when the stock market took a downturn. Many Americans lost a significant portion of their savings, especially retirement savings. Put the two events together and we’re now beginning to see some erosion in people’s confidence in the economy, despite good growth and unemployment numbers overall.