The Shutdown Is Over — For Now. The U.S. Economy Is Still Feeling Its Effects
Find our buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.
With Meghna Chakrabarti
The president has endorsed a bipartisan deal to temporarily end the government shutdown. Still, federal employees are feeling the effects and more uncertainty is on the horizon. We’ll look at the political and economic storylines.
Ginger Gibson, national political correspondent for Reuters. ( @GingerGibson)
Jim Tankersley, economics and tax policy reporter for The New York Times. ( @jimtankersley)
Tyler Lathrop, owner of A Good Life Café and Juice Bar, which is located on the same block as the federal building in Ogden, Utah.
From The Reading List
New York Times: “ Your 2019 Tax Refund Might Be Higher, Lower or Later Than Usual” — “Millions of Americans have come to count on tax refunds to fuel their spending in the waning days of winter. But as income tax filing season opens on Monday, a sweeping tax code overhaul and the lingering effects of a government shutdown could squeeze taxpayers’ refund checks and delay them, too.
“The monthlong government shutdown coincided with one of the Internal Revenue Service’s busiest times, and while 46,000 employees were called back to work without pay, many did not show up. Many taxpayers calling with questions faced delays of over an hour. While furloughed federal workers will return to their jobs on Monday, it will take time to get parts of the I.R.S. running smoothly again. And the workers’ time on the job could be brief, with a temporary measure funding the government expiring in three weeks.
“Even before the shutdown, big questions loomed about this year’s tax season. The $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that took effect at the beginning of 2018 lowered individual income tax rates, doubled the standard deduction and eliminated or capped many personal exemptions and tax breaks, such as the state and local tax deduction. All told, the overhaul threw a cloud of confusion over the correct amount to withhold in advance from workers’ paychecks.”
Reuters: “ Democrat Bloomberg says Trump is ‘flunking’ as president” — “Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took his case against President Donald Trump for a test run on Friday, as the possible 2020 presidential candidate told Democratic business leaders that his fellow New York billionaire was ‘flunking.’
“‘I think it’s clear this president at this point cannot be helped, and the training wheels that the staff tried to put on in the Oval Office have not worked,’ said Bloomberg, a 76-year-old media mogul who served three terms as New York mayor. ‘The president is just flunking every single test.’
“Bloomberg repeatedly hinted that he could mount a campaign for the Democratic nomination and join a large field hoping to challenge Trump in the November 2020 election.
“The billionaire political activist and founder of a media company that bears his name would bring a famous brand and business background to the field of Democrats that is expected to grow to as many as two dozen.”
CNBC: “ Americans fault Trump for chaotic government shutdown, as more believe US is ‘on the wrong track’: NBC-WSJ poll” — “The government shutdown that just ended has deepened Americans’ discontent with the state of the nation–and they place the blame primarily on President Donald Trump, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday showed.
The poll’s results showed that by 63 percent to 28 percent , a margin greater than two to one, Americans believe the country is ‘off on the wrong track’ rather than ‘headed in the right direction.’ That’s significantly worse than the 56 percent to 33 percent finding from the December NBC/WSJ poll, taken before the shutdown.
“And by 50 percent to 37 percent, Americans blame Trump, rather than Democrats in Congress, for the debacle. That result reflects their disagreement with his stance on the issue that caused it.”
New York Times: “ How the Shutdown Reordered American Life” — “On Day 1 of what would become the longest government shutdown in the country’s history, Mary Kelly had a typically American view of the situation: She was optimistic. As an employee of the Internal Revenue Service, she had been through shutdowns before. This one would not last long, she figured.
“On Day 24, weeks into her mandatory furlough, she applied for unemployment benefits.
“Ten days after that, she left her home in the Chicago suburbs, rode a train downtown and joined demonstrators on a windswept Federal Plaza, her cheeks mottled pink from the cold.
“‘I was never scared during shutdowns in the past,’ Ms. Kelly, a union officer, said during the protest on Thursday, wearing woolen gloves and clutching a sign. ‘But now who knows what’s going to happen?’
“And then on Day 35, with no resolution seemingly in sight, she had her answer in news leaked from Washington: The shutdown was finally coming to an end.”
Vox: “ The hidden costs of the government shutdown” — “Airport lines are long, national parks are being vandalized: These are ubiquitous signs of the 34-day partial government shutdown. Nine federal departments are closed, and hundreds of other government operations have been scaled back or stopped altogether. They might be less visible, but they’re no less crucial.
“The longest shutdown in American history started because of an impasse between President Trump and Congress. He demanded $5 billion to fund the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, but Democrats refused. Now 800,000 federal workers are about to miss a second paycheck, and some workers are refusing to keep working without pay.
“As the shutdown enters its second month, its consequences are becoming more visible in American business and life. Startups in Silicon Valley are unable to issue IPOs. Indian reservations are not receiving federal benefits to support daily costs. And thousands of immigration hearings have been delayed due to closed courts.”
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