By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The October 2013 government shutdown cost the U.S. economy an estimated $24-Billion, including several million in lost tourist dollars when National Parks in the Philadelphia area closed.
Chinese tourists were bemused to find locked doors and a sign on the Liberty Bell Pavilion saying it was closed due to the Federal Government shutdown.
“It’s interesting to see this sign anyway. It’s not usual in my own country that the federal government will shutdown,” this tourist said.
The National Park Service accounts for just 15-percent of the federal budget, but it became the lightning rod for anger over the shutdown, on Independence Mall as elsewhere:
“I feel bad for all the people that came from around the world to this spot. We got a bunch of knuckleheads and they don’t seem to care.”
At Valley Forge, a runner got a ticket for using a park trail during the shutdown, sparking a protest.
The shutdown lasted 16 days, until House republicans abandoned their quest to keep it going until the Affordable Care Act was repealed.
An 8th grade field trip was the first group through the Liberty Bell’s reopened doors.