EVEN THE THREAT OF A SHUTDOWN IS EXPENSIVE…. If congressional Republicans go through with their threat and shut down the government tomorrow night, the costs will be considerable. It’s ironic that those hoping to cut the budget will force a shutdown that’s needlessly expensive.

But while we wait to see what happens, it’s worth noting that the GOP’s game of chicken is already costing us money. I spoke to a friend who works in the Obama administration last night, who sent me this email. I’m republishing it with permission.

I spent most of today prepping what to do with our online properties and presences in the event of a shutdown.

Lots of decisions are still to be made, but it appears that almost all of our websites will be offline. We are literally unplugging our servers from the wall and the internet. We need to do that since neither the content nor security people are allowed to monitor the websites during a government shutdown.

So what does that mean? Rather than have a 404 error, we want a simple “away” message to explain that, because of the shutdown, the website isn’t available. I don’t want it to appear that my team and I are incompetent! It isn’t our fault, Mr. Web Surfer, that you can’t get the info you need.

Since there is no time for me to put out a contract offer (nor is there any money appropriated for it, anyway), I had to attach myself to a five-figure contract we already had with a cloud host provider to ensure we can display a simple “away” message. This is amazing overkill. I don’t think it will cost that much, but we just don’t know how long their services will be needed.

Starting tomorrow my tech guys will be working with the provider’s tech folks to ensure a seamless transition Saturday morning. In addition to lost productivity by my team, the provider’s tech team isn’t cheap.

In the event we don’t shutdown (and I don’t want to), I’ll still be out the pay for the provider’s tech guys AND several days’ worth of lost productivity.

Just think of this multiplied across other offices and 20+ other departments.

For a party that doesn’t want government money wasted, their obstinance sure is causing it.

Can we get some adults in charge of the House please?

That point about multiplying this throughout the government is especially interesting. My friend is just one person in one government office, but there were plenty of other people in plenty of other agencies spending time and money this week in preparation for a shutdown.

House Republicans have the ability to end this. They don’t want to.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.