For the fourth day in a row, the federal government is shut down because of snow. This causes me mixed feelings. Because federal workers already are so vastly overpaid, part of me is irritated that they are getting what are, for all intents and purposes, extra vacation days. On the other hand, isn’t it better to have bureaucrats sitting at home instead of hunched over their desks figuring out new ways to tax and regulate? And let’s not forget that Harry Reid has been forced to delay the so-called jobs bill because of the snow, so the economy at least will be temporarily spared this new stimulus scam. But then I saw a story that it costs $100 million for each day the government is shut down. This perplexed me. While I have great faith in the ability of government to waste money, how could it cost even more for bureaucrats to stay home? It turns out this number is fake. As the story excerpted below indicates, the $100 million figure is a government estimate of “lost productivity.” For people in the real world, however, fewer IRS audits, fewer OSHA inspections, and fewer Dept. of Energy subsidies translate into higher productivity:
While D.C. residents take out their snow shovels for untold hours of back-breaking labor, the Office of Personnel Management estimates that the shuttering of the federal government is breaking the bank as well — costing taxpayers about $100 million every day in lost productivity, or work that’s not getting done. With Friday’s half day, and three full days of government shut-down this week, that adds up to $350 million — and it could top $500 million if the government, with its 230,000 D.C.-area employees, remains closed through the end of the week.