The hidden costs of the government shutdown

The hidden costs of the government shutdown

October 2nd, 2013 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

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/Times Free Press.

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.