September 27, 2013 2:24 pm -

Republicans are playing with fire as though they have never heard of burns.  Shutting down the government would cost and waste billions of dollars and scare the markets. It’s already caused work slowdowns.

The Office of Management and Budget estimated in 1996 that the two closures in that fiscal year, which lasted 26 days total, cost the government $1.4 billion, or roughly $2.1 billion in today’s dollars.

“I think of it like moving — it costs you to pack, and it costs you to unpack,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum think tank and former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. “Uninterrupted operations are cheaper than starting and stopping.”

Most of the cost was a result of Congress granting back pay to federal employees who did not work during the closure, but some of it came from the financial toll of winding down operations and ramping them up again, according to a 1997 report by University of Maryland Baltimore County political scientist Roy T. Meyers. Meyers’s report has been cited by the Congressional Research Service…

As for the broader economy, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told the Senate Budget Committee this week that closing down for less than a week would be “no big deal” but that a month-long stoppage would end up halting fourth-quarter growth.

Zandi said in an interview Thursday that a shutdown would effectively cause the unemployment rate to rise from its current 7.3 percent to about 7.8 percent.