Well, the Republican Congressional Arson Committee was out-voted Wednesday and the government shutdown has ended and the debt ceiling has been raised. At least for a few months. Now come the analyses striving to set the Conventional Wisdom.
First up we had this from McClatchy on Tuesday, before the shutdown had been ended:
WASHINGTON — It may be one of the most serious missteps of the federal government shutdown.
After weeks of planning, the nation’s spy chief sent home nearly three-quarters of the workers at the government’s intelligence agencies when faced with the partial shutdown. The move, James Clapper later admitted himself, put the United States at greater risk of terrorist attacks. He then reversed course and brought thousands of employees back to work.
Of course, as I noted in this post the other day, when there is a shutdown, the managers are almost required to make things as painful as possible for the maximum numbers of people to show the people pushing for the shutdown what happens. For myself, I would have preferred more oversight people kept working than those within the NSA and other members of the so-called “Intelligence Community” being allowed to spy on average citizens within the US, but that’s just me.
Tiger Beat On the Potomac (h/t Mr Pierce) offers up an “Anatomy of a Shutdown.”
Bloomberg reports on the “Republican Civil War“:
A battle for control of the Republican Party has erupted as an emboldened Tea Party moved to oust senators who voted to reopen the government while business groups mobilized to defeat allies of the small-government movement.
CNN’s article on the ending of the shutdown was a bit pessimistic:
The debt cushion now extends through February 7, with current spending levels being authorized through January 15.
That means a few months of breathing room, but little more. After all, the bill doesn’t address many of the contentious and complicated issues — from changes to entitlement programs to tax reform — that continue to divide Democrats and Republicans.
Ah yes, our old friend “entitlement reform.” What a hoary old chestnut that is turning out to be. Why just yesterday the folks at “Fix the Debt” (Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles’s attempt to stay relevant and invited on talking head shows) held a “Twitter chat.” As Business Insider noted, it did not go well:
“Fix the Debt” just felt Twitter’s sweet, trollish wrath.
Championed by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, Fix the Debt — which The Nation magazine called a “fearmongering campaign to convince Americans that the deficits the United States has run throughout its history have suddenly metastasized” — held a Twitter live chat this afternoon to discuss next steps in America’s ongoing fiscal squabble.
And it didn’t go so well, with the #fixthedebtqa soon teeming with jokesters and those very much against Fix the Debt’s message.
My phrase of choice for people such as Simpson and Bowles and the rest of the austerity freaks is “willfully obtuse.” Between the shutdown, sequester, and overall fear-mongering of the last few weeks, the general economic consensus is the US economy took a $24B hit. Now, anyone who has read my posts these past few years is aware that I am not a big fan of most CW spouting economists but given how often they are surprised at the end results of things, my WAG is the $24B figure is probably conservative.
A note for the Fix the Debt folks (and Paul Ryan who used a Wall St Journal opinion piece to push for “entitlement reform”,) Harry Reid is quoted as saying, it ain’t happening. Now, Reid has backed off some of these type statements in the past, so we just have to make sure to hold him to his words.
I continue to be dumbfounded at the words and actions of people who think nothing of cutting funds for the elderly and the poor in order to throw more money at the DoD or Banksters or BigAg or Big Pharma or Big Insurance. As I noted here a few months ago, most people receiving Social Security are getting what amounts to less than a minimum wage. For many that is the only income they have. And as Forbes notes yesterday, minimum wage workers are not getting rich (though businesses that rely on them are and sticking the taxpayers with the bill.)
So all of you Beltway Village Idiots Pundits, Politicians, and Courtiers, why don’t we do something unique from these last half dozen year. Let’s create some decent paying jobs, build the economy in the US, send a few economic criminals to jail rather than giving them multi-million dollar bonuses, and see what the result is for the economy and those “entitlement” programs. You might be surprised that jobs would mean people paying in would extend the life of these programs with no action required to fiddle and fuck with them.
Besides, if the Russian astronomers are correct, we might be hit with an asteroid in August of 2032, making things moot.
And because I can: