published Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

The hidden costs of the government shutdown

  • photo
    National Park Ranger Robert Turan closes a road leading to Wilder Monument at the Chickamauga Battlefield which is among more than 400 parks across the country that have been closed as a result of the federal government's partial shutdown Tuesday.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

Think the shutdown doesn't really affect very much in Chattanooga?

Think again. Tourists traveling here can't get into the sites of the Chattanooga National Military Park or its satellite parks such as Craven's House, Moccasin Bend and Point Park. Not a big deal? Bad luck for tourists?

The Society of Environmental Journalists -- some 400 or 500 reporters from all over the world are here this week to see Chattanooga and tour our Civil War history and see our beautiful outdoor sites such as the Conasauga River in the Cherokee National Forest. Oops, that's canceled and the conference is scrambling for new venues.

Meanwhile, a continuing shutdown likely means cancellations of SEJ speakers, such as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and USDA-Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

Chattanooga's River Rocks is bringing in hundreds more tourists. They also will see closed signs at some places.

Beyond tourism, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees nuclear safety at the three nuclear plants here operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, will be keeping about half of its resident inspectors on the job with carryover funding if the shutdown is protracted, according to a blog post NRC officials made Saturday. TVA is rate-payer funded, so impacts there will be from the outside -- such as NRC oversight.

Tennessee River transportation may slow for goods that are shipped by water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers man the locks.

And, of course, there also are all the federal salaries that will take a hit here -- TVA not included.

But the radical right that hates government and thinks of government only as taxes, not as services, doesn't care.

Ted Cruz and his gang of whiners are having their way. But of course, they're getting paid.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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moon4kat said...

The GOP is being irresponsible. We need sensible Republicans, not what we're getting. The ACA -- like it or not -- is a law that was enacted by a majority of Congress. Those shutting down the government are like spoiled brats, throwing tantrums because they can't get their way on everything. No one can respect that kind of childish behavior.

October 3, 2013 at 9:39 a.m.
javelin363 said...

Boehner and Republicans in house are bowing to the tea party. the tea party is destroying the Republican party and if lift unchecked will destroy our country. they are the biggest threat to this country since the fall of the U.S.S.R. .

October 4, 2013 at 8:06 p.m.
fairmon said...

Why are national parks not funded by those using them? Why are the locks not funded by users? Why are interstates not funded by users paying a toll? Why are all funds co-mingled then budgeted to the departments like a windfall? In most cases you can put me in the category of the radical right (not tea party or republican) that resents the waste of tax dollars and the intrusion in peoples lives in ways never intended by the constitution which many in office have never read and certainly don't understand.

October 5, 2013 at 8:26 a.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

Why doesn't everyone in Chattanooga pay a special tax to fund the 33 dams built upstream that were responsible for Chattanooga not washing away in 1973, 2003, this past January and July 4th? Because it would take a big bureaucracy to keep track of and account for who paid what when they lived here. Because some things really are more efficient when done equally on everyone. Some things a government can do better than a company (tame a river, defend a country) and some things are better done by the private sector. But it's not always one or the other.

October 5, 2013 at 9:49 a.m.
mhbraganza said...

But, but... @Hunter_Bluff, 'everyone knows' government is useless and can't do anything better than the private, for-profit business. So it MUST be true.

October 5, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
fairmon said...

When you have no answer respond with something unrelated or an analogy that is not relevant. There are a few things, such as the military, the government should be in charge of and can do better than the private sector. There are not many beyond that where the government, if capable, could develop a contract and utilize the private sector with the appropriate oversight but not co-manage.

October 7, 2013 at 3:05 a.m.
librul said...

Sure, the government is "shut down", sure it is - you can't even take a quiet walk in a National Park. But I wonder if the ONE AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS of our tax money that's being spent to build the NSA's Bluffdale domestic spying data center and the 1 MILLION DOLLARS of our tax money that is being spent EACH MONTH just on the electricity to power the frickin' thing has been at all interrupted. Funny, none of that is ever discussed on what passes for "national news" brought to you by General Electric and the American Petroleum Institute.

But why would we want Americans to reflect on their taxes being used to enable some NSA pinheads to pry and spy on every human on the planet rather than to support cancer research or turn back global environmental degradation or promote early childhood education that isn't corrupted by crackpot religiosity or, horrors, CREATE JOBS for the millions of people who have been disappeared from labor statistics? Nope, wouldn't want anybody thinking about that.

October 8, 2013 at 10 a.m.
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