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.