Congress Is Ruining Countless Vacations

Government Shutdown Forces Closures In Nation's  Capitol

Daniel Gross looks at how the shutdown will hurt the travel industry:

[T]he U.S. Travel Organization put out an annual report that estimates the impact of travel generally in the U.S. The report suggests 14.4 million total jobs are supported by travel, or one in every eight in the private sector.  For 2013, it forecasts travel spending will be $889.1 billion, up 3.9 percent from $855.4 billion in 2012. New York City alone in 2011 welcomed (or didn’t welcome, as the case may be) 50.9 million tourists.

Of course, most tourists traveling in the U.S. visit sites run by the private sector—like Disney World, or Las Vegas. But federally-run sites are also among the largest attractions.

Mount Rushmore gets three million visitors per year. That’s nearly four times the population of South Dakota. Without government entities, the 17.9 million tourists who visited Washington, D.C. in 2011 would have had little reason to go. An estimated 275 million people visit national parks each year. And without other government operations—the State Department, which processes and grants visas, the airports, customs officials—people wouldn’t be able to enter, exit, and move about the country.

Noam Scheiber watched Fox News’s shutdown coverage yesterday:

[E]very half hour brought another report from a correspondent in the field surveying the landscape of shuddered facilities. The Statue of Liberty. Bunker Hill. My favorite was a group a World War II veterans who’d trekked to Washington to tour the World War II memorial, only to find it barricaded when they got there. Fox played the footage over and over, clearly sensing a prime Kulturkampf opportunity—aging war veterans made to suffer indignities by socialist president. But none of the Foxies narrating the story could quite figure out what to do with the fact that it takes government money to build memorials, and government money to keep them open. And so it just hung out there as an implicit rebuke of Republicans.

(Photo: World War II veteran Russell Tucker of Meridian, Mississippi, stands outside the barricade as he visits the World War II Memorial during a government shutdown on October 1, 2013. The memorial was temporary opened to veteran groups arrived on Honor Flights on a day trip to visit the nation’s capital. By Alex Wong/Getty Images)