The Office of Management and Budget published a report today that puts the cost of the federal government shutdown of 2013 at $2 to $6 billion. The shutdown lasted 16 days from October 1 to October 16. The report was prepared by independent forecasters and is an analysis of the loss of flow of government spending. It does not include losses to the functioning of the private economy. Standard & Poors estimated the cost to the United States economy to be $24 billion.

Federal loans, export and import licenses and applications, and the start of the Alaskan crab fishing season, all these businesses were disrupted during the shutdown. Federal museums and national parks were closed.  Military families lost important services. Head Start was closed  and the Federal Drug Administration was not approving drugs as it normally would be. President  Obama had to cancel an important trip to Asia.

Deft hands that now pluck
Seedlings, once you used to press
Patterns from the stones.

-Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)*

*A haiku poem from The Narrow Road to Oku, translated by Donald Keene from the Japanese and published by Kodansha International Ltd. According to Bashō, children in the Village of Shinobu told him that a popular pattern-rubbing stone nearby used to be at the top of a mountain, but people on their way to visit the stone would trample through the barley fields, damaging crops, so angry farmers pushed the stone over into the valley. It landed face down.