Who Did The Shutdown Hurt Most? Colorado Springs.


As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Wayne Heilman reports–we've talked at length in this space about the harm done to Colorado's economy during the GOP-engineered shutdown of the federal government in October of 2013. At one point late last year, it seemed as though the shutdown was going to do real damage to Republican electoral prospects in 2014. The issue did come up in the recent elections, but the principal target Rep. Cory Gardner overcame whatever damage those ads may have done.

In tourism-dependent communities like Estes Park, the shutdown of the national parks cost the local economy millions of dollars from cancelled bookings. The shutdown resulted in some delays in the federal government's response to the devastating September flooding along the Front Range. And, says the Gazette today, furloughed soldiers and federal employees in government-heavy Colorado Springs lost income, which cost the entire region economically:

The area's income per person rose just 0.2 percent, or $81, from 2012 to $41,250, according to a report released Thursday by the agency. In 2012, per-person income rose 2.1 percent from 2011.

The national average for 2013 was $44,785; the Colorado Springs number is $3,535, or 7.9 percent, lower – the biggest gap between local incomes and the national average in data since 1969.

The prime reason for the area's poor showing: a $110.8 million decline in earnings by military personnel and civilian federal employees, largely the result of furloughs and other cost-cutting measures put into place during the federal government shutdown in October 2013.

The area has about 36,000 troops on active duty and 13,500 federal civilian workers. About half of the civilians were off the job without pay during the shutdown.

The irony of staunchly Republican El Paso County taking one of the hardest hits from the October 2013 shutdown is obvious. And the numbers don't lie: this is a much bigger economic hit than Colorado's tourism economy took. That this clearly destructive and preventable action did not have any discernable impact on the 2014 elections, either in El Paso County or across the state in the U.S. Senate race, reflects one of the great conundrums of American politics today (see: Thomas Frank's What's The Matter With Kansas?).

We don't have the solution, but here is one of the clearest examples of the problem you're likely to ever see.

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8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    It's almost like President Obama had it in for Perkins, Bruce, and all the Focusers in Somalia Springs when he the Government down?!?. . . 

    . . . nice try, Alva, but doesn't everyone know by now that facts are never going to be useful towards informing the opinion of a single one of these idiots. (There'll be an assworm or two along very shortly who'll prove my point.)

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      . . . he shut the . . . 

    • Moderatus says:

      Maybe they care more about the nation than their own greed?

      • Wong21fr says:

        Than Colorado Springs should be willing to take it on the chin if the DoD opts to reduce Fort Carson by a couple of BCT's or shutter a facility entirely and should ask for NOTHING in the form of economic assistance.  Or when the DoD institutes pension reform and reduces the COL increases to current retirees and ends defined benefit pensions for future retirees.


        Love of nation coming from a political worker?  You guys conflate love of party with patriotism so much that you wouldn't know selfless service if it tea-bagged you.  

        • Moderatus says:

          The shutdown was a fight to stop a bad law that has hurt millions of Americans. The reason the American people are not angry about the shutdown is they know now that Obamacare is a failure. Republicans were right to fight back, and we are right to keep fighting to repeal and replace Obamacare.

          • Diogenesdemar says:

            Right?  That's exactly the way Senator [elect] Slimy portrayed it during his recent election campaign? Oh shit, wait, there was no government shutdown, and no one voted for it — I forgot . . .

            It was a temper tantrum (at best) or extortion (nearly also at best) or cynical politicking of the very highest order — and likely, all of the above. 

            Take your revisionist horseshit and mail it to BWB. 

          • FrankUnderwood says:

            Hurt millions? I saved $3,600 this year thanks to ACA. Where can I get more of that hurt…….

          • Duke Cox says:

            You are out of your fucking mind….

            The shutdown was a petulant hissy fit by a bunch of incompetent whiners who are powerless to stop a president who is smarter than they are…

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