Shutdown drags on, but is it saving money?

Note: This post originally appeared at the Institute for Spending Reform.

The United States has now entered its longest-ever government shutdown. With government employees across the country officially receiving $0 paychecks, it’s likely that Members of Congress will get even more pressure to find a solution. Meanwhile, competing stories of standoffs and storming out of meetings do not offer much optimism that compromise is on the horizon.

It can be tempting to celebrate government shutting down for any reason. After all, most of us are not affected, and for fiscal conservatives, reminders that life goes on without federal funding are welcome. We should not be tempted, however, to think the shutdown is saving us money. For one, most federal employees will eventually be paid (for work they mostly weren’t allowed to do). For another, some taxes and fees like national park entrance fees won’t be collected.

The sky may not be falling over a partial shutdown — in fact, it rather clearly is not. But this latest impasse is just another reminder that government by crisis does not work, and politicians should not be allowed to let the status quo continue for the next generation.

On that, everyone should agree.