When we are told about the horrors of the furloughs of 800,000 federal workers, the standard example is the shutdown of national parks.
It’s fall, folks. Summer is over. Almost nobody goes to the parks in fall. The kids are in school.
Could the parks charge a market price? Of course. But the headlines indicate that the crisis in government spending threatens the parks. In fact, it merely threatens the subsidies that all taxpayers provide to people who visit the parks.
We are talking about a federal budget of $3.6 trillion. How much effect on the economy would the removal of federal subsidies to the parks cost? Maybe $30 million a day. The Pew Charitable Trusts report this.
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), an advocacy group, estimates the actual impact on businesses from the current shutdown could be closer to $30 million per day.
Where is the evidence? We are not told.
Let’s see. That $30 million a day, times 365 days, is about $11 billion. This is out of $3.8 trillion. Yet this is the best that the “incomparable economic disaster lies ahead” deficit-huggers can come up with.
October is peak season for many tourists who want to see the changing autumn leaves and for weddings in some national parks. Four weddings scheduled for the first week of the shutdown at Yosemite, for example, face cancellation, according to this interactive map from the NPCA.
Oh, woe! A few people who expected government-subsidized weddings have suffered incalculable harm!
Give me a break.
The self-induced paranoia of the deficit-huggers is not working. Nobody notices the furloughs of 800,000 federal workers, other than the families of these workers. There is a reason for this.
We are supposed to take this seriously.
Approximately 15 percent of the visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park come in October, according to Holly Scott, the marketing director of Friends of the Great Smokies, a nonprofit organization that raises private funds to help maintain the park. Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park generate an estimated $10 million in gateway communities in October, she wrote in a recent blog post.
Wow! A whole $10 million. Out of a budget of $3.8 trillion.
By the way, if the people who would have spent this money at the parks, do not spend it at the parks, they will spend it outside the parks. The national economy will not collapse.
When you read about “investments” by the government, substitute the word “subsidies.”
Every federal dollar invested in national parks generates $10 in economic activity, the NPCA said. The parks also support more than a quarter-million jobs and more than $30 billion in private-sector spending each year, the group said.
When it comes to federal subsidies by taxpayers, the beneficiaries will use any argument they can think of.
When you see the list of threatened programs, and tourism is on the list, you can be sure that they are running low on arguments.