Beyond the disruption to operations and potential harm to the economy, partial shutdowns hurt the government long-term by making it seem a less attractive place to work, according to a posting by the Volcker Alliance, a good-government group.
“Impacts of public attitudes and public service professionals should be equally concerning,” it says, adding that a shutdown “diminishes Americans’ faith in what their government currently does, leading to a devaluing of government’s essential role in all our lives.
“Further, the trivializing and destabilizing of the work of government exacerbated by shutdowns has consequences for ensuring that federal service is an appealing and fulfilling career for the nation’s brightest . . . perceptions matter as we manage the demographic transition in the federal civil service. If a career as a fed is not even on the radar of many young Americans, then we will all pay the price.”
The group said that during research for an upcoming report, “we were inspired by the capacity and commitment to service of the rising generation, but we were alarmed as many recounted the departure of highly qualified colleagues and wondered aloud how long they could last. Regularized government shutdowns are not the sole contributor to declining regard for public service, but they do contribute to a larger trend of disparaging public enterprise.”