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Open Thread: Predictions On Shutdown & Debt Ceiling

As of an hour-and-a-half ago EST, the US Government entered into shutdown thanks to the inaction of Congress the nihilistic strategies of hard Right Republican Congresspersons, in turn enabled by Republican House colleagues who feared getting primaried. And if this wasn’t enough, by most estimates, Congress only has 17 days to act on the Debt Ceiling.

These are the moment that try men’s souls and delight prognosticating pundits. Take for example this exchange from Monday’s Morning Edition on NPR:

[Mara] LIASSON [NPR’s Political Analyst]: Well, there is a school of thought that a little shutdown would help, would make a debt ceiling breach less likely because it would be cathartic for Republicans. They could see how they like it. They could see what kind of political repercussions there are and that maybe if we have a shutdown we won’t have to breach the debt ceiling.

INSKEEP: Robert Costa.

COSTA [of the National Review]: Real quickly, I think that’s a nice prediction, but covering these House conservatives, I very much doubt it’s going to be a burn – touch the stove cathartic moment. I think however the CR unfolds, the debt limit will be an even larger mess and we’ll have even more fiscal drama this fall.

Up is down, down is up, and no one is quite sure what is happening next. So here’s your chance OTB’ers — what are your predictions? How long with the Government be shut down for? And how will this affect the Debt Ceiling negotiations? While this be the final act of the Boehner’s current Speakership? We look forward to reading your predictions.

For the record, like Costa, I think Liasson is… well… as they used to say, smoking crack on this one.

Circumstances have led the Republican party to take up a position that doesn’t enable either side to save face. As has been pointed out, you’re not going to procedurally repeal Obamacare when there’s someone named Obama in the White House. And the chances of that went even lower given the fact that you waited until the very day the next stage of the program went live to go nuclear.

The problem is that the hard Right base has been promised a delay or repeal. And, thanks to all the folks whipping them into a frenzy, they are not going to take anything less (i.e. the medical device tax) for an answer. Small concessions from the Democrats won’t work in this scenario.

So without a way to save Republican face which both sides will accept, the shutdown goes on for at least a week.

And if it goes on for at least a week, that bring us dangerously close to the Debt Ceiling debate. And at this point, I sadly suspect that the results of the shutdown will be significantly bad enough for it to poison the Debt Ceiling negotiations.

Unless something changes — either the Democrats completely cave (not going to happen) or the core Republican group stands up to the Hard Right (hard to see happening by the  17th at this point) — I predict that the House Republicans will block the raising of the Debt Ceiling and we will default.

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About Matt Bernius
Matthew is a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at Cornell University, researching the intersection of technology and culture. Prior to Cornell, he earned a Masters in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and was a visiting professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Matt started his career at Eastman Kodak, spending eight years in a variety of web development, community and content strategy roles. In his spare time (off OTB) Matt slogs (slow-blogs) on the future of reading/media, studies martial arts and self defense, and volunteers, along with his wife, at the Rochester Animal Shelter. Follow him on twitter @mattbernius.

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    Prediction: The shutdown slows the government spending enough that we last 23 days. The House raises the debt limit on day 21, government remains shut down for 33 days, with the House finally passing a clean resolution with half the Republicans voting against it only after enough people have seen the exchanges and aren’t frightened.

    Boehner retains speakership only with Democrat support. Republican Party fractured. We then have a one party state and Superdestroyer gets to say “I told you so.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. David M says:

    I predict that the House Republicans will block the raising of the Debt Ceiling and we will default.

    I’d like to think the debt ceiling would be ignored or declared effectively unconstitutional in this situation, rather than going into default.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Jeremy R says:

    Feels kind of macabre to be making these predictions, but what the hell. From what I saw tonight the media is far more worried about the chances of breaching the debt ceiling (and worried about their own finances) than they were last time around, so a lot of the weasel-words, beltway media beating-around-the-bush shtick is out the window. … I’ll predict a two day shutdown with the Hastert rule suspended and a mostly clean CR passed (perhaps tacked on will be a fake face saver like a requirement that both the Senate and House appoint conferees for Budget negotiations, which the Democrats and moderate Republicans actually want, and the Tea Partiers have blocked in both bodies).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Tillman says:

    Obama unilaterally declares the debt ceiling an unconstitutional restriction on Treasury’s right to issue debt to cover Congressional appropriations citing the 14th amendment. I have no godly idea how the markets would react to it, and that would be the real trial. The politics of it would be irrelevant compared to whether bondholders accept the rationale and stick with the U.S. Otherwise, heads credit ratings will roll.

    The platinum coin doesn’t pass the laugh test, but the “unconstitutional” gambit has enough semblance of sense to possibly work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Just Me says:

    I think the doom and gloom won’t happen. Some deal will be reached. The GOP gets all the blame and everyone forgets about by Christmas.

    The senate will continue to not write a budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  6. David in KC says:

    I’ve given up on predicting what the Republicans will do at this point, but pretty sure between the shutdown and the debt limit, somehow Cthulhu is involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. James Pearce says:

    I predict that the House Republicans will block the raising of the Debt Ceiling and we will default.

    I see your prediction and raise the following:

    When we default, the House Republicans will blame everyone else but themselves. Their partisan supporters will concur. All GOP incumbents are rewarded with re-election. Their radicalism rewarded, they indulge in more of it. They don’t regain control of the Senate or the Presidency for another decade. They continue to fight Obamacare for the next fifty years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Todd says:

    It ends when/if Boehner breaks the ‘Hastert Rule”.

    There are (most likely) enough votes in the House (with Dems included) to pass a “clean” CR right now. Possibly even the same thing with a clean debt ceiling vote.

    As for really speculative predictions …

    If we actually breach the debt ceiling, the Obama administration will implement one of the ideas (trillion dollar coin or 14th Amendment) that they said they wouldn’t even consider.

    … Impeachment vote will follow within a week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. superdestroyer says:

    @Todd:

    And how long will Boehner be speaker if he throws the Republicans under the bus to give the Democrats a complete victory. Also, what happens to the Republicans who vote with the Democrats to give them a complete victory.

    Why should a single Republican voter support any candidate or donate any money to a candidate who is happy to spit in the face of Republicans and give the Democrats a complete victory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @superdestroyer: Because at some point, your ego has to be less important than the survival of the country.

    Boehner’s shown everything has to be sacrificed to his quest for staying in power. Ironically enough, what this has demonstrated is that he has no power whatsoever. The ultra-right has him by the balls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. grumpy realist says:

    I’m wondering at what point the moneymen are going to step in and say “oh, enough playtime. Settle down and start being serious.”

    Unfortunately, I can see us getting pushed over the debt limit cliff by these brats. Who will then complain bitterly about the financial consequences even though everyone warned them.

    They’re Randites enough that a sizable percentage of them think that defaulting would be a Good Thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Rob in CT says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The Democrats should get a “victory” here because their position is correct and the GOP position is flat-out nuts. That’s why.

    The GOP put themselves in this position. They chose this hill to die on. Unfortunately, if they hold firm as you want them to, and the Dems actually have the spine to stick to their guns, there will be fallout.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  13. Scott says:

    I think the Republicans will lose. The ensuing rage by the right wing radicals will be something to behold.

    I don’t know what Boehner will do but I don’t see him as having the personality to have to hang on. He may just say screw it and go golfing. Although he may stab a few of his collegues on the way out.

    They will try again with the debt ceiling. You know, zombies.

    There will be a tipping point in the national zeitgeist where the radical right will be turned on and beat up. Right now they get all the attention because the media love conflict and also are afraid of the right.

    Superdestroyer, I know you’ve been predicting a one party state but don’t worry. If the Demos get too big, they will split and turn on themselves. It has happened in the past and it will happen in the future. These all go in cycle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. C. Clavin says:

    Todd is right…eventually Boehner gives up on the Hastert rule.
    And the longer this goes on the worse Republicans look…so expect that to happen rather quickly.
    Know-nothings like Doug can spew their both-sides-do-it nonsense.
    Everyone knows this is on the Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  15. Moosebreath says:

    My prediction is that the government shutdown is not ended until we pass the deadline for the debt ceiling, and will be resolved together. The debt ceiling issue will be resolved by Obama invoking the 14th Amendment, as Tillman said above.

    The final resolution will include a continuation of the sequester, a (mostly pointless) panel put together to revisit the Grand Bargain on taxes and spending, and an agreement to re-open the few items in Obamacare which everyone agrees need to be changed (like the Congressional staff exemption), and the medical devices tax will be repealed and replaced by spending cuts, rather than tax increases. Republicans will claim that Obama got everything he wanted out of this.

    And impeachment proceeding will start in 2014 over Obama’s invocation of the 14th Amendment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. john personna says:

    I have no idea what will happen, and think this is black swan territory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Todd says:

    @superdestroyer: And how long will Boehner be speaker if he throws the Republicans under the bus to give the Democrats a complete victory. Also, what happens to the Republicans who vote with the Democrats to give them a complete victory

    We’ve had this discussion before, a “victory” for Democrats would be possibly if BOTH sides were actually asking for something they wanted, and negotiating from there.

    Merely keeping the government running *should* be something that everybody wants.

    As for Boehner’s speakership, and who Republicans are going to vote for/give money to .. who cares! And really, I hope the day will quickly arrive where being associated with the Tea Party will be viewed negatively, even in “Conservative” districts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. superdestroyer says:

    @Scott:

    The current state of the Democratic Party in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, and most urban areas do not support your argument. In most urban areas, the Democrats have been in power for decades that have been any breakup of the Democrats. No matter how incomptent the local Democrats are, the support for the Democrats never changes.

    As politics in the U.S. becomes a fight over entitlement spending, who pays and who receives, do you really think there will even be a reason for two parties.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  19. Tillman says:

    @Moosebreath: Yeah, I definitely left out impeachment. That’s bound to happen if Obama in any way orders Treasury to ignore the debt ceiling.

    And honestly, it is totally an impeachable offense. They’d be in their rights to do it. It would just be the worst possible action they could take to get back in the public’s good graces. Government shutdown is the sort of thing that focuses the public on what its government is doing and why, and I don’t see how the Republicans evade that focus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Why should a single Republican voter support any candidate or donate any money to a candidate who is happy to spit in the face of Republicans and give the Democrats a complete victory. ”

    Maybe because there are some Republicans out there who believe that not tanking the world’s economy and seriously harming they’ve sworn to protect and defend is actually more important than a win for their team?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. KM says:

    I’m betting Boehner toss out the Hastert rule and then the House toss him out. He’s freaking doomed, one way or another. The knives are out already and if the extremists don’t get Democrat blood, they’ll damn well take his.

    Cruz will continue to make this all about him. Honestly, after his little stunt I’m amazed he’s not screaming this was his idea so he can glory in the TEAbrats’ glee. Rational Republicans are horrified but he doesn’t care about them anyways.

    I’m betting on the 14th and am kinda looking forward to them trying the whole impeachment thing. That might just be what’s needed to finally get rid of this insane people – impeaching the President for stopping the country from going into default. Only the terminally stupid will try but it seems we have way too many of them for this to end well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. grumpy realist says:

    If the House tries impeachment….? Whew.

    The Chinese must be laughing their asses off at us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: I don’t think Boehner has the guts to jettison the Hastart rule. He’s going to cling to power until he gets dragged out by his heels. The fact that the next stock market crash will probably be directly linked to his absolutely abysmal handling of the House doesn’t stick at all in his tiny mind. The only thing that he’s worried about is getting primaried from the right in the next election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Barry says:

    @Tillman: ” I have no godly idea how the markets would react to it, and that would be the real trial. The politics of it would be irrelevant compared to whether bondholders accept the rationale and stick with the U.S. Otherwise, heads credit ratings will roll.”

    If he doesn’t do that, then the markets will crash. As for bondholders, I’ll bet that they’d accept it, since the US defaulting on its debt is the equivalent of thermonuclear war – i.e., there would be no markets worth the name afterwards, so betting on that happening is not worth it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “They continue to fight Obamacare for the next fifty years. ”

    No, because after a decade, people will be used to it, will like it and will want it. Of course, at that point the right will call it ‘Heritage Care’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Barry says:

    @grumpy realist: “I’m wondering at what point the moneymen are going to step in and say “oh, enough playtime. Settle down and start being serious.”

    Unfortunately, I can see us getting pushed over the debt limit cliff by these brats. Who will then complain bitterly about the financial consequences even though everyone warned them. ”

    We’ve seen that the money guys are rather short-sighted, and that piles of loot tend to preoccupy their attention. They’re probably figuring that they can get a lot with a successful GOP crisis (especially since the House can repeat this every few months).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. al-Ameda says:

    It appears that October 17th is the day that Republicans force a default.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0