Women Are Bearing the Brunt of Shutdown Fallout

Oct 11, 2013Andrea FlynnNataya Friedan

The "non-essential" programs that are currently unfunded due to the shutdown are in fact essential for many women and children.

The "non-essential" programs that are currently unfunded due to the shutdown are in fact essential for many women and children.

The GOP likes to say the war on women is a myth. But the government shutdown, now in its eleventh day, is just the latest evidence that it is indeed alive and well. It should be no surprise that women are among those hurt most by the closure, which, predictably, is in part a reaction to the benefits that the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature achievement, guarantees women, as we wrote last week.

From the nation’s elite institutions to the oft-neglected rural areas of this country, women and their families are caught in the middle of a political impasse that has furloughed an estimated 800,000 government workers, threatens to upend the global economy, and has left critical government programs and services scrambling to secure emergency funds in order to serve America’s most vulnerable populations.

The shutdown threatens a number of programs and funding streams, including domestic violence shelters and service centers; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); the Woman, Infants, and Children Program (WIC); School Lunch; Head Start; and Title IX investigations of sexual assault on college campuses. This will have a serious impact on the health, physical safety, food security, and economic stability of women and their families.

Physical Safety

As Bryce Covert wrote last week, funds for domestic violence programs designated under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) have been suspended since October 4. (It should be no surprise that many of the House members leading the shutdown also voted against VAWA itself earlier this year.)

Small centers without access to independent funding – those that serve women with the fewest options – will only be able to weather the storm for so long. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing economic downturn, violence against women has been on the rise, with eight out of 10 shelters reporting increases in the number of women seeking help, and 74 percent of domestic violence victims staying in unsafe situations because of economic insecurity.  Demand for these services is increasing, while funding is being cut from every source. Nearly four out of five of domestic violence service providers have reported decreases in government funding over the past five years, and since October 1, many have closed their doors completely or limited their services.

The shutdown is also affecting the safety of women on college and university campuses across the country. An increasing number of institutions are under investigation for ineffective handling of sexual assault cases adjudicated under Title IX.

And with the shutdown, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has suspended investigations into alleged violations and has halted campus visits necessary for holding institutions accountable.  

Food Security

The shutdown threatens the food assistance on which millions of America’s most vulnerable women and children rely. At this point, federal funding for TANF, WIC, and school lunches has been suspended. State and USDA reserve funds are being reallocated so that states can continue to provide these essential services, but they will only be able to function with these limited resources for a short time.

States are shouldering the burden to keep TANF running while the government is shuttered, but last week, 5,200 eligible families in Arizona did not receive their monthly check. Thus far Arizona has been the only state to deny this important benefit for families in need, but every day the program is more strained.

WIC, the federal program that most crucially provides formula and breastfeeding assistance for mothers in need, has also been left in the lurch. On Tuesday, officials announced that no additional WIC vouchers would be issued in the state of North Carolina, where approximately 264,000 women rely on the program. In Utah, the WIC program shut its doors and only reopened four days later because the USDA provided a $2.5 million emergency grant. Other centers are sure to face the same challenges so long as workers are furloughed and grants are on hold.

Economic Security

Head Start programs that provide childcare and education for 7,200 low-income children ages 0-5 did not receive grants due on October 1. Thousands of low-income women are able to go to work every day because their children participate in Head Start programs. Without them, women already struggling in low-wage jobs and lacking benefits are forced to miss work, because no one else is able to care for their children. For women, secure employment is contingent on secure childcare and education for their families. The New York Times reported that programs in six states had closed due to the shutdown and then reopened temporarily thanks to a $10 million gift from a couple in Texas. Head Start will continue as a result of this short-term rescue, but private philanthropy will not be able to do the job of the government over the long term.

In sum, what some define as non-essential government services are, in fact, essential to the economic and physical well-being of America's most vulnerable women and their families. It’s just another variation on the old adage that one man’s public interest may be another’s tyranny – in this instance, largely tyranny over women and children.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. She researches and writes about access to reproductive health care in the United States. You can follow her on Twitter @dreaflynn.

Nataya Friedan is a recent graduate of Columbia University working for the Roosevelt Institute’s Women Rising program.

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Daily Digest - October 11: Non-Catastrophes Can Still Be Bad Policy

Oct 11, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Why “The Sky Hasn’t Fallen Yet” is a Bad Standard for Judging Policy Choices (The Fine Print)

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Why “The Sky Hasn’t Fallen Yet” is a Bad Standard for Judging Policy Choices (The Fine Print)

Nick Schwellenbach uses Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's piece on right-wing think tanks and the debt ceiling to explain why even if a default wasn't catastrophic, it would still be a terrible policy decision.

U.S. Treasury, Fed Planning for Possible Default (Reuters)

Tim Reid and Jonathan Spicer report that the Treasury and the Fed have started preparing contingency plans for a default. The plans remain secret because officials worry about encouraging Republican Congress members who think breaching the debt ceiling is no big deal.

Obama to Boehner: No? (WaPo)

Ezra Klein reports on yesterday's White House meeting with a Republican House delegation, which offered a six week debt ceiling increase. The President appears to be sticking to his statements that the government must be reopened before anything else can happen.

Postcards from the Shutdown Edge (TAP)

According to Abby Rapoport, the shutdown hasn't seemed so bad so far because the states have covered for missing federal funds for the past ten days. That can't go on forever, and when it stops, the social safety net will be in trouble.

A Border Patrol Agent Who Has To Work Without Pay Wants You To Stop Saying The Shutdown Is No Big Deal (Business Insider)

Josh Barro looks at what's coming for the many federal employees who have been working without pay for nearly two weeks. A short paycheck is approaching, and then no more until government reopens, and bills can't be paid in IOUs dated "whenever the shutdown ends."

Bank Examiner Was Told to Back Off Goldman, Suit Says (NYT)

Susanne Craig and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report on a lawsuit filed by a former New York Fed employee, which contends that she was asked to change her negative findings about the conflict of interest policies at Goldman-Sachs and fired when she refused.

New on Next New Deal

How to Fight for "Freedom from Want" and Win: A Q&A with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch interviews representatives of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who will receive the Freedom from Want medal at the 2013 Four Freedoms Awards, on their unique organizing model in the fight for fair wages and working conditions.

Sister Simone Campbell Shows Us Freedom of Worship is a Bipartisan Value

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Defense and Diplomacy Jacqueline Van de Velde considers the work of Sister Simone Campbell, who will receive the Freedom of Worship medal at the Four Freedoms Awards, in the context of progressive policy.

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Daily Digest - October 10: Finally, a Fed Chair Nominee

Oct 10, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Yellen, if Confirmed, Faces Daunting Task (AJAM)

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Yellen, if Confirmed, Faces Daunting Task (AJAM)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal considers the challenges facing Janet Yellen. We'll know that she's a success if she can balance the duel mandate of employment and inflation and work towards a better economy for Americans who haven't seen much recovery yet.

Janet Yellen: who is the woman set to lead Federal Reserve? (The Week)

In its profile of Janet Yellen, The Week quotes Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick, who points out the value of Yellen's focus on employment.

Twilight of the Economics Elites (Foreign Policy)

Daniel W. Drezner questions why Republicans are so insistent on ignoring the advice of economists. One reason, that the right has their own experts, pulls from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's piece on right-wing economists' opinions on the debt ceiling.

If Congress Only Reopens the Government Piece by Piece, it Could Take Until Next Spring (WaPo)

Brad Plumer points out another reason to avoid piecemeal funding bills: if the government is funded on a service-by-service basis, it will take more than 100 working days to finish. Whoever relies on that last service would have a long wait.

The 8 Most Plausible Ways a Debt-Ceiling Catastrophe Could Be Averted (NY Mag)

Dan Amira and Jonathan Chait rank the possible solutions to avoiding a default on October 17. They also include a prediction of the Senator Ted Cruz reaction to any given solution, ranging from "anger" to "epic, 47-hour speech on Senate floor."

Janet Yellen: The Most Powerful Woman in US History (Quartz)

Matt Phillips argues that the Federal Reserve Chair has more power then the Secretary of State, or the Speaker of the House. No one approves the Fed Chair's decisions, and major coalition building would be required to curtail the Fed's powers.

McCutcheon, the Next Victory for the 1 Percent (TAP)

Scott Lemieux is concerned after oral arguments for McCutcheon vs. FEC. He thinks that it's likely that the Supreme Court will strike down aggregate campaign contribution limits, and that doesn't seem good for American democracy.

Unpaid Intern Is Ruled Not an ‘Employee,’ Not Protected From Sexual Harassment (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Venessa Wong reports on a U.S. District Court decision that determined that unpaid interns are not protected by the New York City Human Rights Law. Sexual harassment charges require being an employee, and being paid in "experience" isn't enough.

 

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Daily Digest - October 9: Economy Doing the Limbo, Going Nowhere

Oct 9, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Five Years in Limbo (Project Syndicate)

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Five Years in Limbo (Project Syndicate)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes that five years after the financial crises that set off the recession, the economy is still in limbo. It's true that some problems have been addressed, but no one can call our current economy a success.

What Should Democrats Demand in the Budget Showdown? (The Nation)

Bryce Covert thinks it's time for Democrats to go on the offensive and put in some budget demands of their own. She draws on Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's work for one of her suggestions: free public colleges and universities.

This Graph Explains Why Obama Rejected the Piecemeal Approach to Funding Government (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson agrees with the president's decision to veto any piecemeal funding bills, because that will only drag out the crisis. If the most visible effects of the shutdown disappear, then the Republicans risk less in the public eye.

Amid Big Salmonella Outbreak, USDA Says It's On The Job (NPR)

Allison Aubrey reports that the USDA inspectors and investigators were working through the shutdown, and the current salmonella outbreak back in July. The CDC unit that tracks these outbreaks has called in some furloughed workers, who are suddenly essential too.

Obama to Pick Yellen as Leader of Fed, Officials Say (NYT

Jackie Calmes reports that the President has chosen the next chair of the Federal Reserve. His choice of Janet Yellen is somewhat expected and welcomed by many, but we'll have to wait a while for confirmation since the Senate is a little busy with the shutdown.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal wrote about their reasons for supporting Yellen for this position.

Strong Enough for a Man, Effective Enough For A Woman (In These Times)

Sarah Jaffe looks at Senator Gillibrand's five point plan for families and the economy, which demonstrates just how closely these two policy areas are tied. Jaffe applauds the senator for taking such an aggressive stance on labor issues, which remain distinctly unpopular in Congress.

The She-covery that Wasn't (TAP)

Bryce Stucki argues that while women are holding a number of jobs equal to or exceeding pre-recession numbers, that doesn't mean policymakers can stop worrying about women in the workforce. Too many of these jobs are low paying and low quality.

New on Next New Deal

California's Environmental Regulations Provide a Vision for the Future

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment Melia Ungson sees environmental regulations as key for Millennials looking for a healthy future. That doesn't mean those regulations need to stand in opposition to economic development.

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Daily Digest - October 8: Why Haven't Moderate Republicans Ended the Shutdown?

Oct 8, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Most Irresponsible Officials In Washington DC Are The 'Moderate' Republicans (Business Insider)

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The Most Irresponsible Officials In Washington DC Are The 'Moderate' Republicans (Business Insider)

Josh Barro says that the so-called moderate Republicans are the real problem right now, because even when they claim to be willing to commit to a clean continuing resolution to end the shutdown, they've voted with the party line.

The Debt-Ceiling Crisis to End All Debt-Ceiling Crises (TAP)

Paul Waldman suggests that it's time that President Obama demanded the elimination of the debt ceiling. Other modern democracies don't require their legislative bodies to approve a budget twice, first to spend the money and then to pay the bills.

The Boehner Bunglers (NYT)

Paul Krugman worries not only about Republican extremism but also about the party's incompetence. The shutdown is only the latest example of how the GOP insists that they are doing the right thing when they ignore the 2012 election results.

Their Real Goal: To Make Us All So Cynical About Government, We Give Up (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich argues that through the shutdown, the right is attempting to teach average Americans that politics isn't worth the energy. If fewer people are paying attention and fighting for progressive values, then business interests can win.

The 13 Reasons Washington is Failing (WaPo)

Ezra Klein's list has some less obvious reasons, like the elimination of earmarks. The argument against earmarks was that they created corruption, but now congressional leadership have nothing to use as a bargaining chip for tough votes.

Texas Food Banks Feel Shutdown Squeeze (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff looks at how Texans are faring in the shutdown. Nearly one fifth of Texans are food insecure, and between WIC, SNAP, and food banks the lack of federal funds is becoming a serious problem.

New on Next New Deal

What are Conservative Experts Saying About Breaking Through the Debt Ceiling?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal worries that the more we discuss the debt ceiling, the more partisan this issue will become. Despite that, he asked conservative think tanks for their opinion on the possible consequences, to see what the right is hearing.

McCutcheon v. FEC Could Give Rich Donors Even Greater Power Over Our Elections

Jeff Raines, Chair of the Student Board of Advisors for the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network, argues that campaign finance cases like McCutcheon v. FEC aren't about free speech. They're about how much influence the wealthiest Americans should have over politicians.

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Live at Wonkblog: What is Actually Shutdown?

Oct 7, 2013Mike Konczal

My weekly post at Wonkblog is: The ‘non-essential’ parts of government that shut down are actually quite essential. Given the way parks and zoo cameras have dominated the coverage of the shutdown, I wanted to step back and summarize what exactly the federal government doesn't do in a shutdown, and how important it is. I also highlight some great journalism being done on the shutdown itself. Hope you check it out.

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My weekly post at Wonkblog is: The ‘non-essential’ parts of government that shut down are actually quite essential. Given the way parks and zoo cameras have dominated the coverage of the shutdown, I wanted to step back and summarize what exactly the federal government doesn't do in a shutdown, and how important it is. I also highlight some great journalism being done on the shutdown itself. Hope you check it out.

Follow or contact the Rortybomb blog:

  

 

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What are Conservative Experts Saying About Breaking Through the Debt Ceiling?

Oct 7, 2013Mike Konczal

There was a fantastic piece in The Atlantic back in 2000 about psychiatrists dealing with people who wanted to have their limbs cut off because it would make them feel more like themselves to be amputees. The doctors’ big dilemma was whether or not to treat “apotemnophilia” as a diagnosable mental illness. If they engaged with it as a mental illness that existed and was recognized by the medical community, they ran the risk of encouraging more patients to identify with it.

I have the same feelings about engaging in a debate over whether or not breaching the debt ceiling matters. I don’t want it to become a debate that people have, because it will get coded as yet another partisan thing pundits fight about, and thus reduce the seriousness with which we should regard the situation. That, in turn, could make a default even more likely. This is a problem we face because of the he-said/she-said coverage of political topics in most U.S. media.

Right now, many House Tea Party members believe that a default is impossible because we can prioritize interest payments to go first. There have been really great pieces written lately about going through the debt ceiling and what it would mean for the economy; Kevin Roose, Greg Ip, and Matthew O’Brien have pieces that are particularly worth your time.

At a baseline, what they tell us is that even if that kind of prioritizing is possible, the legality is in doubt, we could still miss a payment, the economy would go into a recession from the sudden collapse of spending, and even flirting with this possibility has a bad effect on the economy. We also simply don’t know if prioritizing would work.

But I wanted to get a sense of what the right wing is hearing on this topic. In order to do that, I contacted three major conservative think tanks to ask for a comment from their experts “about the economic consequences of the government defaulting on its debt if it goes through the debt ceiling.” Here’s what I got.

Heritage

The Heritage Foundation immediately responded with a quote from this post, stating, “Congress still has some time and options. Even if the debt limit is not raised by mid-October, Boccia writes, ‘the Treasury would not necessarily default on debt obligations,’ as it can ‘reasonably be expected to prioritize principal and interest payments on the national debt, protecting the full faith and credit of the United States above all other spending.’”

They added, “In other words, risk of a default is practically nil—unless the President and Treasury choose to default, an unprecedented and almost inconceivable course of action.”

In short, Heritage’s position is that if there’s a default, it will be because the president chooses to default.

Cato Institute

The Cato Institute put me in touch with their senior fellow Dan Mitchell, who said, “I think the likelihood of an actual default is zero, or as close to zero as you can possibly get, for the simple reason that the Treasury Department has plenty of competent people who would somehow figure out how to prioritize payments.”

But wait, does the Obama administration have the legal authority to do something like that? “From what I understand. I’m an economist, not a lawyer. It’s a gray area.”

But isn’t it complicated to prioritize debt payments? “Interest on the debt is paid out of a different account than other government spending. So the argument that there’d be a lot of difficulty and challenges to prioritizing most payments is true, because it’s automatic.” However, “interest payments on the debt are apparently out of a different account, which presumably means that that it would be relatively simple to make sure that happens.”

But certainly it would cause some financial panic, right? “Will there be some economic repercussions? Financial markets I’m sure would be worried as we’d be in uncharted territory… Yes, I’m sure there’d be some anxiety. Especially if Bernanke or Lew or somebody like that is saying something that triggers concern, and spooks the markets.”

American Enterprise Institute

Bucking the trend, the American Enterprise Institute put me in touch with Michael Strain. What happens if we go through the debt ceiling? “First thing I’d say is that nobody really knows, and that’s the scary thing,” he told me. He referenced and drew on an LA Times editorial he had just written.

“I think you’d see a spike in interest rates. Though others think interest rates might fall because people would be spooked. Either way, we should consider it a catastrophe. If there’s a default it could cause a credit crunch. If the repo markets don’t consider Treasuries good collateral anymore there could be a panic. There really could be something similar to 2008.”

Could we prioritize payments? “What I would caution is that it is not clear we could do that. So, for example, back in the 1970s Congress waited until the 11th hour to raise the debt ceiling, and we were put into default by errors in execution. I’d caution that if we try and do something cute things can go wrong. And we don’t want to invite error. We saw what happened in 2011 - even with a deal and no default, even doing that really hurts the economy in a measurable way.”

So why is there so much fascination on the right with going through the debt ceiling? “When I do interviews with right-wing media there does seem to be a story that goes like this: they said the sequester would be horrible and the sky didn’t fall, they said that the government shutdown would be horrible, and the sky didn’t fall, and now they are saying going through the debt ceiling date would be horrible and why would we believe them this time? I’ve been trying to push back against this.”

Add to that last part the idea that conservatives are “winning” the shutdown, so why not push their luck and go through the debt ceiling, too? Especially when the majority of people doing the intellectual, “expert” work on the right are describing it as either consequence-free or an opportunity to blame President Obama for something.

Follow or contact the Rortybomb blog:

  

 

There was a fantastic piece in The Atlantic back in 2000 about psychiatrists dealing with people who wanted to have their limbs cut off because it would make them feel more like themselves to be amputees. The doctors’ big dilemma was whether or not to treat “apotemnophilia” as a diagnosable mental illness. If they engaged with it as a mental illness that existed and was recognized by the medical community, they ran the risk of encouraging more patients to identify with it.

I have the same feelings about engaging in a debate over whether or not breaching the debt ceiling matters. I don’t want it to become a debate that people have, because it will get coded as yet another partisan thing pundits fight about, and thus reduce the seriousness with which we should regard the situation. That, in turn, could make a default even more likely. This is a problem we face because of the he-said/she-said coverage of political topics in most U.S. media.

Right now, many House Tea Party members believe that a default is impossible because we can prioritize interest payments to go first. There have been really great pieces written lately about going through the debt ceiling and what it would mean for the economy; Kevin Roose, Greg Ip, and Matthew O’Brien have pieces that are particularly worth your time.

At a baseline, what they tell us is that even if that kind of prioritizing is possible, the legality is in doubt, we could still miss a payment, the economy would go into a recession from the sudden collapse of spending, and even flirting with this possibility has a bad effect on the economy. We also simply don’t know if prioritizing would work.

But I wanted to get a sense of what the right wing is hearing on this topic. In order to do that, I contacted three major conservative think tanks to ask for a comment from their experts “about the economic consequences of the government defaulting on its debt if it goes through the debt ceiling.” Here’s what I got.

Heritage

The Heritage Foundation immediately responded with a quote from this post, stating, “Congress still has some time and options. Even if the debt limit is not raised by mid-October, Boccia writes, ‘the Treasury would not necessarily default on debt obligations,’ as it can ‘reasonably be expected to prioritize principal and interest payments on the national debt, protecting the full faith and credit of the United States above all other spending.’”

They added, “In other words, risk of a default is practically nil—unless the President and Treasury choose to default, an unprecedented and almost inconceivable course of action.”

In short, Heritage’s position is that if there’s a default, it will be because the president chooses to default.

Cato Institute

The Cato Institute put me in touch with their senior fellow Dan Mitchell, who said, “I think the likelihood of an actual default is zero, or as close to zero as you can possibly get, for the simple reason that the Treasury Department has plenty of competent people who would somehow figure out how to prioritize payments.”

But wait, does the Obama administration have the legal authority to do something like that? “From what I understand. I’m an economist, not a lawyer. It’s a gray area.”

But isn’t it complicated to prioritize debt payments? “Interest on the debt is paid out of a different account than other government spending. So the argument that there’d be a lot of difficulty and challenges to prioritizing most payments is true, because it’s automatic.” However, “interest payments on the debt are apparently out of a different account, which presumably means that that it would be relatively simple to make sure that happens.”

But certainly it would cause some financial panic, right? “Will there be some economic repercussions? Financial markets I’m sure would be worried as we’d be in uncharted territory… Yes, I’m sure there’d be some anxiety. Especially if Bernanke or Lew or somebody like that is saying something that triggers concern, and spooks the markets.”

American Enterprise Institute

Bucking the trend, the American Enterprise Institute put me in touch with Michael Strain. What happens if we go through the debt ceiling? “First thing I’d say is that nobody really knows, and that’s the scary thing,” he told me. He referenced and drew on an LA Times editorial he had just written.

“I think you’d see a spike in interest rates. Though others think interest rates might fall because people would be spooked. Either way, we should consider it a catastrophe. If there’s a default it could cause a credit crunch. If the repo markets don’t consider Treasuries good collateral anymore there could be a panic. There really could be something similar to 2008.”

Could we prioritize payments? “What I would caution is that it is not clear we could do that. So, for example, back in the 1970s Congress waited until the 11th hour to raise the debt ceiling, and we were put into default by errors in execution. I’d caution that if we try and do something cute things can go wrong. And we don’t want to invite error. We saw what happened in 2011 - even with a deal and no default, even doing that really hurts the economy in a measurable way.”

So why is there so much fascination on the right with going through the debt ceiling? “When I do interviews with right-wing media there does seem to be a story that goes like this: they said the sequester would be horrible and the sky didn’t fall, they said that the government shutdown would be horrible, and the sky didn’t fall, and now they are saying going through the debt ceiling date would be horrible and why would we believe them this time? I’ve been trying to push back against this.”

Add to that last part the idea that conservatives are “winning” the shutdown, so why not push their luck and go through the debt ceiling, too? Especially when the majority of people doing the intellectual, “expert” work on the right are describing it as either consequence-free or an opportunity to blame President Obama for something.

Follow or contact the Rortybomb blog:

  
 
Debt ceiling banner image via Shutterstock.com

 

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Daily Digest - October 7: Not So Non-Essential, Still Shutdown

Oct 7, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The ‘Non-Essential’ Parts of Government That Shut Down Are Actually Quite Essential (WaPo)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

The ‘Non-Essential’ Parts of Government That Shut Down Are Actually Quite Essential (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konzcal breaks down some of the services government usually provides, the absences of which can cause the country real harm. It's not all museums and panda cams: it's trade, research, and critical pieces of the social safety net.

Shutdown Prompts Rare Government Mix: Imagination and Laughter (ProPublica)

Kim Barker reports on one side effect of the shutdown: conferences that scheduled non-essential federal employees as presenters. One analyst for Health and Human Services went so far as to record a presentation before going on furlough, to fill in for himself.

Other Ways to Get Your Jobs Data (NYT)

Thanks to the shutdown, there was no official jobs report on the first Friday of October. Catherine Rampell lists some of the alternative measures, which are usually overshaded by the Department of Labor but are all we have right now.

The Most Often Repeated Fact About US Debt is Wrong (Quartz)

Matt Phillips points out that depending on what definition of a default you use, the U.S. has defaulted on its debt up to three times in the past. But non of those situations look anything like the debt ceiling question today, which would be a "voluntary" default.

Boehner Says He Doesn't Want to Default, But That's 'The Path We're On' (NY Mag)

While Friday's Daily Digest linked to a New York Times piece indicating that Boehner would not allow a default, now Margaret Hartmann reports that the Speaker is saying otherwise. He's apparently no longer willing to step around his own party.

Here's The Uncomfortable Answer To Whether Treasury Can 'Prioritize' Payments In The Event Of A Debt Ceiling Breach (Business Insider)

Joe Weisenthal explains that the Treasury is unsure if it's even possible to priotiize interest payments in order to avoid a default - and even if it is possible, the legality is questionable too.

At a Nissan Plant in Mississippi, a Battle to Shape the U.A.W.’s Future (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse reports on the U.A.W.'s continued attempts to organize Southern auto plants. The union is taking an international strategy, having union members worldwide pressure Nissan and drawing support from Brazil to South Africa to Japan.

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Daily Digest - October 4: Shutdown Reasoning is All Talking Points

Oct 4, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Values Divide (Other Words)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argues that today's partisan divide is based on differing concepts of responsibility and freedom. The right wants freedom from paying for anything that helps another person, while progressive responsibility is to others.

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

The Values Divide (Other Words)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argues that today's partisan divide is based on differing concepts of responsibility and freedom. The right wants freedom from paying for anything that helps another person, while progressive responsibility is to others.

Boehner Tells Republicans He Won’t Let the Nation Default (NYT)

Ashley Parker and Annie Lowrey report that the Speaker has privately indicated that he will work with Democrats to ensure a debt ceiling increase. Since a default would be far more catastrophic than the shutdown, it's good to see at least a little bipartisanship.

Paul Caught on Hot Mic: 'We're gonna win this, I think' (Maddow Blog)

Steve Benen reports on a conversation between Senators Paul and McConnell, caught on mic yesterday. It proves that Republicans are so caught up in rhetoric and talking points that they've forgotten about the basics of governing.

Can Obama Disrupt the Shutdown Narrative? (MoJo)

David Corn asks what the President would need to do in order to shift the media narrative of shutdown from a joint inability to compromise to the Republicans harming veterans, children, and the sick because they oppose a law and can't get the votes to repeal it.

Republicans Are No Longer the Party of Business (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Joshua Green writes that the shutdown is causing some members of the business community to reconsider their support of the GOP. The party is taking actions that have a clear negative effect on the economy, and that disruption is bad for business.

Government Shutdown Hits Native Americans Hard (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert reports that since federal grants fund many programs to the tribes, Native Americans are being hit disproportionately hard by the shutdown. Of course, this is on top of the pain of sequestration, which already caused many cuts in services.

What Happens If We Approach the Debt Ceiling? Here's What Happened in 2011 (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson remembers what happened when we last came dangerously close to the debt ceiling: markets dropped, interest rates rose, and the U.S. credit rating was downgraded, costing taxpayers $19 billion. All that can be avoided if Congress will just raise the debt ceiling.

Too Small to Survive: Inside One Bank's Struggle to Save Itself (The Guardian)

Jana Kasperkevic looks at the opposing side to "too big to fail," and finds that small local banks are hurting. One such bank, which focused on real estate loans to local businesses in Bridgeport, CT, was forced to close by the FDIC.

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Daily Digest - October 3: More Shutdown, Bigger Problems

Oct 3, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Republicans Split On Whether To Give Back Pay To Workers Furloughed In Government Shutdown (HuffPo)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Republicans Split On Whether To Give Back Pay To Workers Furloughed In Government Shutdown (HuffPo)

Sabrina Siddiqui and Dave Jamieson report that while furloughed workers have always received backpay in the past, some Republicans say we might not be able to afford it. That the furloughed employees might not be able to afford rent is apparently irrelevant.

Here's How The Government Shutdown Gets Worse Over Time (Business Insider)

Josh Barro explains the timeline for how things will get worse through the month of October if the government remains shut down. The longer federal workers go without knowing when they will be paid, the more it will affect our economy.

What’s the Fight About? Republicans Struggle to Explain (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm points out that while the GOP focused on Obamacare in the lead-up to shutdown, that's not what they're talking about today. They've shifted to broader fiscal issues, probably because starting a shutdown over a single law was a dead end.

Shutdown Coverage Fails Americans (AJAM)

Dan Froomkin thinks that by attempting to be fair and balanced in their coverage of the shutdown, journalists have failed in their duties. There's only one party responsible for the shutdown, and attempts at 'balance' conceal that truth.

Why Does the Debt Ceiling Matter? (Economist)

The Economist's daily explainer post tackles the debt ceiling, which doesn't actually involve taking on new debt. Raising the debt ceiling means giving the Treasury permission to let the deficit grow in accordance with other laws Congress has passed.

Why the Shutdown Is Leading to Debt Default; or, What Happens When You Take Hostages Without a Plan (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait is convinced that Republicans plan to keep the shutdown going up to the debt ceiling deadline. The shutdown isn't giving them enough "hostages" to ensure a win in negotiation, because funding government is now a war.

New on Next New Deal

The Government Shutdown Could Be the Last Gasp of the Reagan-Friedman Agenda

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick suggests that the anti-government ideology of the 1970s and 80s is making another attempt to starve out government functions.

The Shutdown Shows the GOP Can't Accept Defeat in the War on Women

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn argues that by tying their continuing resolution to anti-birth control measures before the shutdown, the GOP shows that they've already forgotten that they lost women in the presidential election by 36 points.

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