The Latest on the Shutdown

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

John Boehner and Eric Cantor

John Dickerson, chief political correspondent for Slate, discusses the latest on the fight in Washington over the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling. NPR Congressional correspondent Tamara Keith also checks in from Washington, and WNYC's Business and Economics Editor, Charlie Herman, explains what the political uncertainty means for the markets.



John Dickerson, Charlie Herman and Tamara Keith

Comments [32]

Basically, the majority of the members of the national legislature sold the country down the river. The Chief Executive approved of the deal.

" . . . There is no dollar amount set for how much debt the government can accumulate between now and then. The suspension strategy was employed first earlier this year during previous fiscal battles in Congress.

Such tactics infuriate anti-government waste groups.

“Suspending the debt ceiling without a dollar amount is further proof that Congress is taking a major step backward in fiscal responsibility,” David Williams, the president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, told TheDC on Thursday. “A real dollar figure is a constant reminder to taxpayers and Congress that the country is broke. This was done to hide the real debt from taxpayers.”

Oct. 17 2013 06:02 PM

A few truths which have been ignored here, and elsewhere:

1. Raising the debt ceiling is at least as horrible as defaulting on it, and as unnecessary.

2. Widening health insurance coverage increases medical prices, forcing markets to reach equilibrium by curtailing the supply of medical care.

3. Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 requires spending to wait until an appropriations bill has been passed into law, but does not require Congress to secure that passage.

4. The word "budget" does not appear in the Constitution.

5. Concerns such as (2) are sensibly addressed by the process noted in (3) when (4) is realized and (1) is acknowledged.

To understand this more fully and to really resolve the crises we are facing, see my eBook "The Way Out" on Amazon.

C. P. Klapper

Oct. 16 2013 07:10 PM


Don't some states make the renewal of a license to practice medicine dependent upon treating a quota of patients covered by medicare or medicaid.
I know that New York State is instituting a requirement for legal work for "pro bono" clients for initial admission to the Bar.

Oct. 16 2013 12:26 PM

@jgarbuz - "where doctors would be required to contribute at least 20 hours a week to taking care of the indigent in those charity hospitals and clinics, possibly with some government funding to help out."

Are you suggesting a government regulation requiring doctors (nurses and other office personnel too?) to spend 1/2 of a normal work-week of 40 hr to work in a specific place at a specific rate? Are there other professions that the gov should regulate work/compensation requirements?

Oct. 16 2013 12:11 PM

Do our "creditors" ever take notice of our inability to pay our debts,
which include amounts for current operating expenses and transfer payments,
from our current income and savings?

At some point I would think that would have a bearing on raising interest rates for future debt - don't you?

Oct. 16 2013 11:10 AM
Tariq from Manhattan

We are now over 17 and counting....

Oct. 16 2013 11:08 AM
Ben from Westchester

This is a note for Brian and your "reporting" team. Could you please avoid the mistake that most of the media is making?

They are talking about a DEADLINE and a POTENTIAL DEFAULT on Thursday at midnight, because deadlines are exciting and make for great news copy.

In fact, the damages to the US economy are happening RIGHT NOW, ahead of any deadline. They happened for real in 2010/2011, even though we technically "avoided the deadline" by enacting the sequester -- we had a debt downgrade.

Right now, we are causing other nations, banks, and businesses to use the Euro and the Swiss Mark as a currency of choice, instead of the dollar and the T-Bill. And the Chinese are LOVING the uncertainty we are creating in the US as a financial leader.

So you can make up the term -- I'm not a journalist -- but please write your story about the "House of Representatives' damage to the US credit rating via the debt limit fight" and not about the "impending credit default deadline." It's more accurate.

Oct. 16 2013 11:02 AM

. . . and RUCB_Alum sounds like one of those 3 card monte dealer's shills.

[no disrespect intended ;-)]

Oct. 16 2013 10:42 AM

I asked for an amount, a number.
Your guests offered a narrative story.
The honest answer is a number,
the other "3 card monte" patter.

Oct. 16 2013 10:36 AM

I can certainly conceive of asking for my credit limit to be raised to $1,000,000.00 from the paltry $1,500.00 it is today.
Are the guests suggesting that there's a way to get a credit limit ignored for a period of time?

Oct. 16 2013 10:34 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Where was the caller John and the Tea Party, when Bush II thought it was ok to start two wars and massive tax cuts at the same time - thus starting the neo con fetish of deficit spending. Kids didn't matter then.

Oct. 16 2013 10:34 AM


$980B budget - sequester levels continue; +$300B on debt limit. Both of those are subject to the duration that is finally agreed to.

@sean from Brooklyn - Sarah Palin has the same 'impeachment trap' fever dream. It ain't gonna happen. Even if it passes the throroughly detached from reality House of Representatives, there is no prayer of it passing in the Senate. That strategy worked out so well for the GOP in '98.

The Dems need to fire back with rational source of additional revenue.

Oct. 16 2013 10:33 AM

@caller Dan-

You might be interested in this article:
"5 Charts Show the U.S. Has No Debt Crisis"

"In a rare moment of candor, House Speaker John Boehner in March acknowledged that "we have no immediate debt crisis." As this graph from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reveals, Boehner is right:
After slashing $2.5 trillion from the next decade's red ink in just the past two years, the U.S. national debt as a percentage of the American economy has stabilized. It is worth noting that only about a quarter of the deficit reduction comes from new revenues. (If all of the Bush tax cuts had been allowed to expire as part of January's fiscal cliff deal, U.S. debt would plummet from around 70 to about 50 percent of GDP.) May's 2013 deficit projection was now $642 billion, half the level Barack Obama faced on the day he first took the oath of office in 2009."

Oct. 16 2013 10:31 AM
Dee from montclair

What about raising taxes. Sure we have to pay, but lets raise some money.

Oct. 16 2013 10:30 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I appreciate that the comparison of the federal or other debt to the household credit card is a tempting one to help explain the situation, but I do wish Mr. Herman would refrain and find another. That is a commonplace misunderstanding that many rank-and-file Americans have mistakenly taken to heart when it in fact it is simply inaccurate. Home budgets/credit cards can be easily cut off and put into bankruptcy--they will not endanger or even affect the nation's entire economy, or, in fact, the world's economy the way the U.S.'s failure to pay its bills over the long term would. There are, I know, more detailed economic reasons that the two are not comparable, so continuing to use it oversimplifies the problem and therefore leads many to deeply misunderstand the problem.

Oct. 16 2013 10:28 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Social security, or old age government pension, is a different issue from socialized medicine. In the agricultural age, when most people lived off the land, "social security" meant having sons who would work the land and take of their aged parents. And that is still the case in much of the world. The shift to an industrial and post industrial age, with small nuclear families, required a different solution for the aged and disabled. So I consider social security old age and disability payments a very different issue from socialized health care.

Oct. 16 2013 10:28 AM
Joe from nearby

What do you call people who refuse to pay their bills?
Right-- deadbeats.

The Republicans are DEADBEATS.

Oct. 16 2013 10:26 AM

How can this discussion be conducted for so long without mentioning the amount of money the "budget" is authorizing to be spent, how much more debt the "ceiling" is being raised to accommodate.

Without those numbers it sounds like a discussion among the insane.

I didn't ask how much "room there was to maneuver".

I asked what was the amount you are seeking to increase the "credit card's" credit limit.

I asked for a number, you hid behind a story.

Oct. 16 2013 10:24 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"capitalist medicine and charity hospitals, where doctors would be required to contribute at least 20 hours a week"

Forcing doctors to "contribute" 20 hours a week? Sounds more like kibbutz than capitalism.

Oct. 16 2013 10:23 AM

Ed from Larchmont= aborto-TROLL
Don't want abortion, allow the teaching of sex ed.

Oct. 16 2013 10:22 AM
Sean from brooklyn

Maybe Im too cynical but maybe the crazy GOPers want to default cause they know Obama will do something drastic to save the day. Giving them something to impeach him over.

Oct. 16 2013 10:21 AM

Can someone tell me why congressmen going outside of the legislative process to extract concessions for ending/defunding/delaying a passed law are not considered to be in breach of their oaths of office? Where I see hypocrisy tantamount to treason, they see patriotism. Where I see a corrupt system that drives costs higher than they need to be, they see freedom of choice.

384 Days until the off-year Congressional election.

Oct. 16 2013 10:20 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The best health care is to take care of your own health. Not to intake sugars, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and to exercise properly, drink lots of clean water, get lots of sleep, etc.

As for health care, I'd suggest a return to capitalist medicine and charity hospitals, where doctors would be required to contribute at least 20 hours a week to taking care of the indigent in those charity hospitals and clinics, possibly with some government funding to help out.

The very rich could pay out of pocket; the middle class could afford to buy health insurance; the very poor would go to charity hospitals.

Oct. 16 2013 10:15 AM
Katie from Huntington

Ed, (aka Johnny One Note). Do you ever think of anything other than abortion?

Oct. 16 2013 10:15 AM
Katie Kennedy from Huntington

Obama isn't in the Affordable Care program because it does not force anyone to leave their current health care program. It is designed to insure THAT almost everyone gets some kind of health care. The President doesn't need it, Congress doesn't need it, I don't need it personally, but my son definitely needs it. We all need it in the sense that it keepS people who don't have health insurance from going to emergency rooms for the flu, or a sore throat, clogging up the hospitals and getting free health care THAT THE REST OF US ARE PAYING FOR!

Oct. 16 2013 10:11 AM

the only new news this morning is that Bhoner is going to be out of a leadership job next week. And what fun it's going to be watching the Repug's elect his replacement -- there will be no agreement on that person until fistacuffs break out.

Oct. 16 2013 10:09 AM
a listener from Manhattan

I am wondering why Tea Party extremists would accept a deal--they believe in less government regulation and other principles espoused by the Heritage Foundation. Shutting down government agencies such as the EPA and other regulatory entities is a victory for them. I see no reason why they would give up now.

Oct. 16 2013 10:05 AM
Seth Peckstiff

Ya can't blame Obama now, cuz the House can't even come up with something to send to him. Until they can agree on something, and they can't, Obama is the only sane person in the room.

Oct. 16 2013 10:05 AM

What's up with those "revolting" republicans in the House???!!!

Oct. 16 2013 10:03 AM

@Martin C

It's quite simple, Martin: because Obama, like tens of millions of other Americans, has employer-provided health insurance and Obamacare does nothing to change that.

Since you share so much about yourself here, would you care to tell us who provides your medical insurance? Would it be that dastardly government program called "Medicare", by any chance?

Oct. 16 2013 09:56 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Why isn't Obama on Obamacare?

Oct. 16 2013 09:52 AM
Ed from Larchmont

We've had forty years to turn away from abortion, and haven't done it, and now we're taking a giant step toward abortion with 0-care. The default might be the result, but I'm very scared about the consequences and wish it could be avoided.

(God does not do this as punishment but out of care - he won't let us die in our sins.)

Oct. 16 2013 08:16 AM

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