Triangle economy could be particularly vulnerable during a government shutdown, professor says

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Thursday, September 28, 2023
Why Triangle economy could be vulnerable during government shutdown
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Political experts are warning about the potential effects a government shutdown could have on Triangle residents and the local economy.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- With the specter of a government shutdown looming closer, political experts are warning about the potential effects a shutdown of any length could have on Triangle residents and the local economy.

"We depend so much on the interplay of private and public partnerships that it could really have a bigger effect here than it could perhaps in other areas, at least a bigger effect at first," said Mac McCorkle, a Professor at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy.

McCorkle said the Triangle economy's federal ties -- through government-funded research and investment -- make the region more vulnerable than other economies in the state.

"All the biotech firms out of Research Triangle Park in one way or another, depending on clinical trials and research -- and money coming in from the federal government, from (National Institutes of Health)," said McCorkle.

WATCH: Many services wouldn't be affected by a looming government shutdown

Worried about Social Security services or mail delivery in a shutdown? Those services won't be affected. But others will.

No deal had been reached in Congress to keep the federal government running, though a short-term spending bill that would avert a shutdown until mid-November had been advanced by the Senate. Hardliners in the House, however, remain largely unwilling to cooperate.

Central North Carolina's large military presence could get hit hard by a potential shutdown, too -- as could the region's growing 65-plus population. While spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid could be deemed essential and protected during a shutdown, the nature of any federal shutdown would force some difficult decisions.

"The problem is, is not that the people wouldn't try to protect it. Is that so much of the money in the budget. So, if this continues to go on, they're not going to be able to find those reserve funds to make those payments," McCorkle said.

On Thursday, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, announced that he had co-sponsored the Pay Our Military Act of 2023, legislation to ensure that America's military servicemembers are paid in the event of a government shutdown.