There is much rejoicing at the suspension of the budget crisis for a few weeks.
National Democrats are counting the debacle a political victory. Moderate Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief at perhaps avoiding being primaried. The Ted Cruz wing of the Republican Party in conjunction with the chattering class is gearing up for the next fight and more TV time.
Lost among the scattered remains of a two-week crisis is the cost. By some accounts the shutdown cost as much as $24 billion in various ways. But that is not a number or a consequence we can really feel as we go about our daily lives.
A better counting of the cost comes from one man’s loss.
Scott Lee of New Hampshire had been planning a 20-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon for a decade. Then, when the great day — Day One of the Great Shutdown — arrived, Lee and his party of 16 were turned away. Access to the river is regulated by the federal government and the river was closed.
Lee had already spent $30,000 for rental gear, airline tickets and fees — $2,000 for a federal permit to float the river. He had pulled his 13-year-old son out of school for the promise of a lifetime adventure and made the kind of arrangements it takes to be away from home and job for nearly a month.
Lee, a regular American taxpayer like any of us, just wanted to go floating. But he could not.
How will the chattering class and the Republican nihilists explain this loss to Scott Lee’s boy? What overarching political theory will make that kid feel better about not going on a grand adventure with his dad?
How is Lee made whole for the money he spent on a vacation or the nights he stayed up planning?
Ted Cruz got TV time, the chattering class got a topic, Barack Obama protected his healthcare love child and the members of congress got their paychecks.
Scott Lee, his son and their crew just got screwed.