“I have some guys right now who traveled all the way from Belgium,” Telleen said. “It’s extremely frustrating.” The fall fishing season normally closes near the end of October, and so it’s now all but ended and people are staying away.
Gregory Bloom is worried about people staying away, too. As president of Seal Science in Irvine, Calif., a small business that works on design and engineering for NASA’s Orion, America’s next manned spacecraft, Bloom is seeing how uncertainty in Washington makes it harder to attract talent.
“Trying to get the best and the brightest to come join a company that specializes in national defense or NASA-supported activities and not being able to tell them that they’re going to have a job in six months is a real tricky challenge for us,” he said.
One senior engineer already left because of the uncertainty, Bloom said: “What keeps coming back to us is ‘why go work in national defense or aerospace when we can go to Google and know that we’re going to have a job?’ ”
Similarly, at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Michael Joyner, the former associate dean for research, has a list of researchers who were about to get grants from the National Institutes of Health but now have been left in a purgatory that could drive them into careers that don’t rely on uncertain federal funding.
The paralyzed projects include one examining cognitive function in older people and one on why people regain weight after diets or weight-loss surgery.
“Multiply this all over campus and all over the country, and you get the picture,” Joyner said. “If this drags on, you’re going to really gum up the scientific and research apparatus of the country. . . . If this goes on for very much longer, you’re going to have kind of a lost generation of scientists.”
Not much attention is being devoted to such long-term impacts of the shutdown, however, because more immediate effects pop up every day. This weekend’s scheduled semiannual roundup and health check of the Chincoteague ponies, made famous by “Misty of Chincoteague,” the 1947 novel about the Virginia herd, has been canceled because the shutdown closed the wildlife refuge where the 130 ponies live.
The Facebook page of the local fire company that announced the cancellation said it was “due to the childish, idiotic actions of our government.”
Michael Alison Chandler, Brady Dennis, Darryl Fears, Ashley Halsey III, Sari Horwitz and Lisa Rein contributed to this report.