by Jian Ping
CHICAGO, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The impact of the U.S. government shutdown, the first in 17 years after Congress failed to pass a budget for the new fiscal year, is not substantial, according to experts in Chicago.
"It's not good," Adolfo Laurenti, deputy chief economist at Mesirow Financial, told Xinhua. "But it's not going to have any major consequence if a solution can be reached within the week," he said.
"It's irresponsible for both sides to push the government to shut down," he said.
Starting Tuesday, about 800,000 federal workers are forced into furlough, and many non-essential government operations such as national parks, museums, and monuments were closed.
With the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate in a standoff, it is unclear how long the shutdown will last.
President Barack Obama has blamed the Republicans for holding the economy "hostage" and carrying an "ideological crusade" against his healthcare law.
Laurenti said 60 percent of the government was still operating and the closed services were in non-essential areas, therefore, the consequence was not as damaging.
He said the stock market had anticipated the shutdown, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually rose about 0.5 percent by the end of the day.
If the impasse continued, he said, especially until Oct. 17 when the government will run out of borrowing capacity, the consequences would be significant.
"Then the government will run into the risk of default obligations," he said. "It will impact the economy and the financial market."
He said the current situation was a result of the two parties not being able to compromise. "It's a political failure," he said, "both sides are equally responsible."
He expected the impasse to be resolved by the end of the week and the government to reopen next Monday.
He estimated the economic impact measured in terms of GDP would be about 0.1 percent. "Not substantial," he said.
Bill Strauss, senior economist and economic adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank, said the cost of the shutdown per day was about 300 million dollars, and would inconvenience for many people.
He also said the Bureau of Labor Statistics might not be able to release the September employment numbers on Friday, an important measure on the strength of the economy.
He agreed the impact of a short-term shutdown was "more limited," and "not long-lasting."
According to Laurenti, the last government shutdown happened in 1995 and lasted nearly a month. But the U.S. economy today was not as strong as then and "the economic impact will be much bigger now," he said.
James McClintick, an attorney in Chicago, laid blame on the Republican Party.
"The Republicans are engaging in despicable and dangerous legislative tactics in order to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which is already law," he said, adding "they are not acting for the good of America."
McClintick said other services to be immediately affected by the shutdown included workplace safety enforcement, environmental efforts, medical research and vaccinations.
The federal budget deficit would also increase, as the government lost the ability to enforce the collection of taxes and fees.