Thanks to the unprecendented snowfall, federal workers in Washington have been given three days off in a row, costing taxpayers an estimated $100 million per day in lost productivity.
It's a good thing Congress didn't decide (back in 1789, or whenever it was) to move the federal capital to Buffalo instead of Washington, because it would have been paralyzed for three or four months every winter.
Or maybe it was a tragic error. Imagine how much less damage Congress could do if it only met eight months out of the year.
In any case, a story in The New York Times reports that our government hasn't really "shut down" in the strictest sense of the phrase. It seems that "essential workers" are still manning the parapets.
If the federal bureaucracy can get by with a skeleton crew to accomplish its "essential" mission, you have to wonder what all the stay-at-homes normally do...hold coats? Make coffee? Run elevators? Polish name plates?
It's mind-boggling to think that as recently as the beginning of WWII, the entire Departments of the Army, Navy and State could still fit into one building.