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Government Shutdown Preparations Are a Lot of Work

Anticipating a possible shutdown is almost as bad as having one
Government Shutdown Preparations Are a Lot of Work
Photograph by Stewart Cohen/Getty Images

Tourists flock to Maine’s Acadia National Park each October when the leaves change color, but Washington’s budget standoff is keeping some away this year. The park will close Oct. 1 if Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill to keep the government open. David MacDonald, president of the nonprofit Friends of Acadia, says visitors are calling to ask, “Should I bother to come this year?”

Whether or not lawmakers broker a deal on the budget, Americans are already paying for the standoff. Preparing for a possible shutdown is nearly as disruptive as actually shutting down because managers must shelve their regular work and come up with contingency plans they might not need. “Everybody knows the government is going to get funded eventually,” says Dan Mendelson, a former budget official in the Clinton administration. “Senior people are spending their time right now going through this charade.”