October 17, 2013
This article was written before the Government was reopened, but is significant because it explains some of the lasting effects of the shutdown. The article describes Dr. Joseph Levy and his team in Antarctica facing the prospect of losing years of research because funding for their projects have been abandoned. Dr. Levy describes that the data points they’ve collected come from years of work, and with the shutdown, their data will no longer be valid if they cannot connect the information or have incomplete information. The National Science Foundation stated that “all field and research activities not essential to human safety and preservation of property will be suspended.” At the time the article was written, Dr. Levy and his team were preparing to abandon their research until a deal is reached. But they also faced the issue that they would not return to work because the research, done on a seasonal basis, ends in mid-November.
Last week I wrote about National Parks closing because of the shutdown. Nobody had an answer to exactly why the parks were closed except that it was related to the shutdown. This is another example of something that has caused pain and damage for no specific reason other than the Government shutdown. This seems to explain how the Republicans planned to use the pain created from the shutdown to give them a political bargaining advantage with a Democratic majority in the Senate and President. While this seems like a plausible strategy, the plan ultimately backfired and the Republican’s approval ratings fell drastically. The Government was reopened after just over two weeks, but the shutdown could have costed billions of dollars, and potentially things that money can’t buy, such as Dr. Levy’s years of research.