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Government shutdown: Killer bees win, beer exporters lose

Olivier Knox
Yahoo News
National Park workers remove barricade at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as it reopens to the public in Washington
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National Park workers remove a barricade at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as it reopens to the public in Washington October 17, 2013. The White House moved quickly early on Thursday to get the U.S. government back up and running after a 16-day shutdown, directing hundreds of thousands of workers to return to work. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

How much did the 16-day government shutdown cost the country? The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is glad you asked.

In a new report released Thursday, OMB detailed the economic pain and loss resulting from the partial closure of federal facilities precipitated by House Republicans looking to roll back Obamacare.

The White House had already warned that 120,000 fewer private sector jobs were created in October and 0.2-0.6 percentage points were shaved from Gross Domestic Product growth in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Here are some of the shutdown’s less obvious effects, as researched and compiled by OMG:

- Drill, baby, drill? Not so much. About 200 permits to drill on federal lands languished unapproved.

- Booze, lose? The Treasury Department couldn’t issue export certificates for beer, wine and liquor, so two million liters due for export were stranded at ports. (Yep, they reckoned this one in liters. It’s about 528,344 gallons.)

- Get crabby? The shutdown delayed the start of the Alaska crabbing season three to four days at a cost to fisherman of thousands of dollars of lost revenue per day.

- Park it where? National parks were closed, resulting in the loss of about $500 million in lost visitor spending nationwide (affecting not just parks, but the communities near them that depend on tourism revenue).

- Government efficiency hawks will be thrilled to learn that federal employees were furloughed for a combined 6.6 million days. Not to worry: They received back pay for days they didn’t work, to the tune of about $2 billion.

- The shutdown delayed about $4 billion in tax refunds, and prevented hundreds of patients from taking part in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health – frequently the last shot chronically or even terminally ill Americans have at treatment.

- Four out of the five Nobel Prize-winning researchers currently working for the federal government? Furloughed.

- Government scientists will have to push back by six months the testing of a new approach for curbing the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

- “Work was also delayed on other invasive species projects, including research on the spread of dangerous Africanized honeybees in the Southwest, invasive grass species involved in intensifying wildfires, and white-nose bat syndrome impacting bats in national parks.”

Kids in Head Start, veterans looking to get their benefits applications processed, rural families waiting for their home loan applications to get through … many others were affected, as detailed in the report.

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