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Tyler Cowen

One Shutdown Lesson Is That Americans Need to Save More

A volatile economy, like a volatile president, makes it all the more important to keep some extra money in the bank.

How much does he have in savings?

How much does he have in savings?

Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

Now that the government shutdown is over, perhaps it is appropriate to consider a delicate question: Is it still OK to tell people they need to save more money?

It’s an issue that came to the fore during the last five weeks, when hundreds of thousands of federal government workers, and many contractors, didn’t get paid, leaving many of them illiquid. I sympathize with the frustrated, laid-off workers — my wife was one of them — and consider the government shutdown to have been flat-out stupid. But I have an increasingly disquieting feeling about the rhetoric surrounding it.