Slatest PM: The Shutdown's NASA-Sized Price Tag

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 17 2013 4:44 PM

Slatest PM: The Shutdown's NASA-Sized Price Tag

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In this handout from NASA, the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard, launches from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility September 18, 2013 in Wallops Island, Virginia

Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

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Back to Work: Washington Post: "Federal agencies, parks, museums and monuments began to reopen Thursday morning, after a chastened Congress ended a bitter funding standoff that triggered a 16-day government closure and drove the nation toward the brink of default. ...  Vice President Biden greeted employees at the Environmental Protection Agency, and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough shook hands with returning workers at the guarded gate outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. At the National Zoo, officials turned the popular panda cam back on, revealing an older, fatter and more robust black and white cub than was last seen more than two weeks earlier. ...  The Department of Veteran Affairs said it would issue benefit payments to about 5 million veterans, survivors and their families on Nov. 1 as scheduled now that funding has been restored."

What It Cost Us: NBC News: "As the dust settles, economists are adding up the collateral damage. The results aren’t pretty: The loss of government services during the three-week shutdown will take a roughly $3.1 billion bite out of gross domestic product, according to economists at IHS Global Insight. ... Economists at Standard & Poor’s estimate the total cost at about $24 billion, or a 0.6 percent GDP haircut. Others guess it's about half that. Either way, it's a heavy price to pay. ... Then there's the loss in U.S. economic prestige, which is also hard to gauge, but keeps getting whittled away every time Washington goes into gridlock over spending."

Or, To Put That Another Way: The Atlantic:  "Counter-factual accounting is guess-work by definition, but a few research firms have tried to attach a number to the shutdown. Macroeconomic Advisers put the figure at $12 billion. S&P estimate the cost was twice as high, at $24 billion. Split the difference, and you're talking about $18 billion in lost work. What's a good way to think about that kind of money—a sliver of the entire $15 trillion U.S. economy, but still, you know, $18 billion? In July this year, NASA funding was approved at around $17 billion for the fiscal year. So, there: The shutdown took a NASA-sized bite out of the U.S. economy."

Ready For Round 2: New York Times: "[Last night's shutdown-ending, default-avoiding deal] paves the way for another series of budget negotiations in the weeks ahead, even as conservative Republicans in the House and Senate vowed to renew their fight for cuts in spending and changes to the Affordable Care Act. ... Across the globe, investors shrugged at the decision by United States politicians to end the shutdown. European stocks dipped on Thursday as investors appeared more interested in other corporate news than the political drama playing out in Washington. ... Financial officials in the United States expressed deep skepticism about the likelihood that the parties in Washington would reach a better outcome as they seek a broader budget deal by the end of the year. ... In Washington, politicians immediately began the post-shutdown posturing as they braced for another confrontation over spending, taxes and health care in the budget negotiations that are set to begin in the days and weeks ahead."

Obama's Message to the GOP: "So let's work together to make government work better instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse. That's not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government. You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don't break it. Don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That's not being faithful to what this country's about."

It's Thursday, October 17th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

The World: Two Decades Late, Drudge Discovers That Americans Like Salsa

As So It Begins: Politico: "A trio of outside groups endorsed a Mississippi Republican state legislator’s primary challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran Thursday. Club for Growth PAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project PAC all offered support for state Sen. Chris McDaniel, 41, who has tied himself closely with tea party groups and announced his bid earlier in the day. Cochran, 75, has not said whether he will run for a seventh term next year. He has picked up his fundraising some, but he voted Wednesday night for the budget compromise to reopen the federal government — giving any potential opponent fodder for attacks."

Weigel: Here Are the Republicans Who Voted to Stop the Shutdown and Will Be Primaried Tomorrow

The Internet (and Journalism) Get Results: Associated Press: "A 14-year-old girl who says she was raped by an older boy from her Missouri high school could get another chance to bring the case to court when a special prosecutor reviews the allegations. Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice, who faced intense criticism over his handling of the case, has asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to decide if new charges should be filed. The girl's mother, Melinda Coleman, claims justice was denied when Rice dropped felony charges in March 2012, two months after she says her daughter was plied with alcohol, raped, then dumped on the family's front porch in sub-freezing temperatures. She said her daughter's 13-year-old friend was raped by another boy the same evening."

The Slatest: Dear Fox News: No, CW Bill Young Is Not Dead (But He Is "Gravely" Ill)

Google's Earnings: Reuters: "Google Inc on Thursday said consolidated revenue rose to $14.89 billion in the third quarter from $13.3 billion in the year-ago period. The world's largest Internet search company said it earned $2.97 billion, or $8.75 per share in the three months ended September 30, compared to $2.18 billion, or $6.53 per share, in the year-ago period."

XX Factor: Facebook Loosens Privacy Rules for Teenagers So That Facebook Can Make More Money

Are You Ready For Some Thursday Night Football? Los Angeles Times: "Watching the brains of former football players at work on a demanding mental task, researchers believe they have identified an early warning sign of concussions' cumulative toll, and the cognitive trouble it may portend. The study found only modest differences between the performance of 13 retired National Football League football players and 60 healthy comparison subjects on a standardized test of attention, planning and mental agility. But in a brain scanner, researchers report they detected dramatic differences in how the two groups' brains activated while performing that task. And the longer the former football player's history of suspected concussions, the more dramatic was the difference between his brain's pattern of activation during the test and that routinely seen among the 60 healthy members of the study's control group. The latest research adds to mounting evidence that while the immediate symptoms of a blow to the head may appear temporary, the effects of concussion are cumulative, and can result in changes in brain function with long-term cognitive and psychological consequences."

Crime: Another Sloppy Security Blunder Takes Down Another Dark Web Drug Emporium

Iran to Try Again: BBC News: "Campaign group Amnesty International has urged Iran not to go ahead with a repeat execution for a drug smuggler who survived a botched hanging. The condemned man, named as Alireza M, was found alive in a morgue after being hanged at a jail in the north-eastern city of Bojnord last week. He is now being nursed to recovery in preparation for his repeat execution. 'The verdict was the death sentence, and it will be carried out once the man gets well again,' an official said."

A Few More Quick Hits From Slate

See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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