If the U.S. government shuts down at midnight, the voters will have no one but themselves to thank, for electing a rump of 45 anal, myopic and narcissistic Tea Party Republicans to the House of Representatives. Holding the government hostage in order to postpone or better yet, repeal, Obamacare, is nothing more nor less than political terrorism. The ideology of these people matters more to them than the effective functioning of the many services that hundreds of thousands of Americans depend upon. The ego's of these neo-cons are inversely proportional to their micro-sized intellects, and their lack of comprehension of the history, tradition and protocols of the two-hundred plus years of American constitutional democracy.
Unfortunately, the Islamic terrorists, as one force, along with instant messaging and the 24-7 news cycle, linked to the spike in extreme everything, movies, television, athletics, public vernacular, drug dependence, prison saturation, and the stripping away of the social safety net, along with each citizen's sense of powerlessness have helped to produce a government that refuses to function....oh, and there have been two sequential elections of the first black president, a fact of history that most of them simply cannot abide.
Should the U.S. shut-down last beyond a few days, and millions of government workers fail to be paid, passports fail to be prepared and mailed, and government programs simply close, not only will the direct economic impact of the shutdown linger for months if not years, but the world's confidence in the U.S. government's capacity to function as a "healthy adult" as we all expect it to, will atrophy legitimately, and that includes the global financial markets. And with the debt ceiling crisis looming by mid-October, should that also fall through the cracks, the U.S. credit rating will, once again, take a severe hit, larger, likely than the last time.
While everyone agrees that Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, has both loopholes and inequities, some imposed by the Supreme Court's permission to let states remain outside the extension of Medicare to cover a select group of Americans, the ACA is the law of the land, and postponing it, or defunding it is simply not going to happen. What could happen, however, is that the crisis expands beyond containment, and has an impact similar to a virus in a large computer system, effectively grinding the economic system to a halt....so that everyone, everywhere loses, including those holding a metaphoric gun to the head of the president, and then chastising him for not "giving in" under these circumstances.
Who knows the specific menu for another perfect political storm? Nevertheless, we all know that the economy is still weak, unemployment is too high, confidence, while starting to return has a long way to go to reach par with where it was in 2008, Italy and Greece are still in turmoil economically; the Middle East is clearly boiling and the U.S. leadership on all fronts, foreign and domestic will be threatened and eroded by the determined sabotage of a few loose nuts in the House of Representatives, whom many Republicans are already distancing themselves from.
In trying to make the issue about Obama, the man, the president whom they simply cannot tolerate, they may also be writing their own ticket to political oblivion. At least the world can only hope they are!
From the BBC website, October 1, 2013
Here are some of the implications of the government shutdown:
State department will be able to operate for limited time
Department of defence will continue military operations
Department of education will still distribute $22bn (£13.6bn) to public
schools, but staffing is expected to be severely hit
Department of energy - 12,700 staff expected to be sent home, with 1,113
remaining to oversee nuclear arsenal
Department of health and human services expected to send home more than half
The Federal Reserve, dept of homeland security, and justice dept will see
little or no disruption
US Postal Services continue as normal
Smithsonian institutions, museums, zoos and many national parks will close
Markets Slide Worldwide Amid U.S. Budget Battle
By Nathaniel Popper, New York Times, September 30, 2013
Investors are worried that even a temporary government shutdown could endanger an already weak economic recovery.
Stock markets fell worldwide on Monday as political disagreements in Washington made a shutdown on Monday night increasingly likely.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down about 0.6 percent in trading at midday. Leading indexes ended down 2.1 percent in Japan, 0.8 percent in Germany and 1.2 percent in Italy.
European stocks are under additional pressure because a growing political crisis in Italy is threatening the government there.
In the United States, investors were most concerned that a government shutdown this week could make it more likely that the United States will default on its outstanding debt when it reaches its borrowing limit in a little more than two weeks.
But on Monday, economists were scrambling to estimate the more immediate effect on the economy if all nonessential government services were closed on Tuesday.
While many economists have said that the direct blow to the economy would be relatively modest if a shutdown lasted only a few days — as past shutdowns have — the political battles could hurt confidence.
“The hit to consumer and business confidence from such an outcome could be substantial, increasing the shutdown’s effects,” Gennadiy Goldberg, a United States strategist at TD Securities, wrote to clients on Monday.
Any reduction in spending would be problematic because economic growth has already been more sluggish than most policy makers want. The Federal Reserve determined recently that the economy was too weak to withstand even a small reduction in the central bank’s stimulus efforts.
The Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said during his news conference on Sept. 18 that the budget battles could make matters worse.
“I think that a government shutdown — and perhaps, even more so, a failure to raise the debt limit — could have very serious consequences for the financial markets and for the economy, and the Federal Reserve’s policy is to do whatever we can to keep the economy on course,” he said.
On Wall Street, the fears about a government shutdown were overshadowing a few recent indicators that the economy may have been strengthening. Manufacturing activity in the Chicago area picked up more than expected in September, according to a private index released Monday.