Government shutdowns tend to have unintended or unforeseen consequences attached.
Governments, especially the federal version in the United States, tend to have their hands in a lot of different cookie jars and when the caps are replaced on the jars industries and citizens who were reliant are suddenly sent scrambling.
Take, for instance, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The government shutdown has ended any chance of new policies being issued until those in Washington, D.C., come to some sort of agreement over the border wall and the budget.
The initial statistics aren’t too scary by themselves – roughly 40,000 policy holders renew on a monthly basis and they are completely out of luck until the budget issues are resolved. But consider:
• The other group? Well, roughly 100 houses have been sold on average in Livingston Parish, per month, over the past year. The most recent homes that sold that require flood insurance because of their location?
• How about those using a Rural Development loan?
• How about those using a Federal Housing Assistance (FHA) loan?
• How about veterans using a veteran-subsidized loan?
• What about those individuals who need a collateralized loan or federally subsidized down payment?
That’s just the housing market.
Federally backed, semester-over-semester student loans will come to a screeching halt. Grant issuances and federal funds will be locked up until the budget is secure.
Perhaps the current investigation into the Baton Rouge post office will halt until the U.S. Postal Service receives its funds.
Think of the $343 million heading to the Comite River Diversion Canal project, the $50 million-plus for the Amite River dredging and cleaning, even the $1.4 billion total for drainage and disaster mitigation projects in Louisiana.
All of that paperwork, effort, and funding stops when the government shuts down – and it’s very difficult to get it all rolling again.
Many large infrastructure and economic transactions have become totally reliant on the federal government.
If not for funding, perhaps just for approval, but either way the U.S. government is involved and when it’s shut down, those deals don’t move.
The Democrats holding up the process deserve their one-two punch – unfortunately they won’t get it. But Republicans need to take some time to think about the wall and whether or not it’s a good investment.
The one-time expenditure on construction doesn’t last, whereas employing more border security, training, and technology is a constant expense – but also an economic boon.
Yes, the wall will need constant maintenance and repair, which does take some investment, but it’s not the same human capital as investing in more workers and defense and allowing them to do their job with new, more efficient technologies.
The border wall is a symbolic gesture and shows security, to be sure, but a real wall will not accomplish everything it’s meant to without the proper manpower.
And, even in those cases, the wall can be damaged, destroyed, or avoided via water routes.
But if people were sent first to monitor the border, perhaps taxpayers will find a wall isn’t even needed?
Not to mention that people pay personal income tax, the batteries which make federal funding operate.
Republicans need to back off the idea of the symbolic wall and focus more on people.
More border patrol officers will provide longer lasting economic benefits than construction of a money pit wall, while being more effective on the ground.