Archive for September, 2013

Cartoon: “Sorry” – Wall Street’s Reaction to American Politics

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 Leave a comment



Hat Tip: The Reformed Broker

A Government Shutdown: By the Numbers

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 Leave a comment

The New York Times takes a look at the costs, closures and other ramifications of a government shutdown:


For more videos from the NYT, click here.

The Bipartisan Federal Debt Limit

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Leave a comment

From the Pew Research Center:

Since 1980 . . . the debt limit has been increased 42 times, under both Republican and Democratic presidents and every possible configuration of partisan control in Congress. The limit now stands at $16.699 trillion, up from $1.39 trillion three decades ago; Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said the government will hit that limit by Oct. 17.



Source: Pew Research Center

Yankee Legend Mariano Rivera’s Yankee Stadium Farewell [Video]

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Leave a comment

Here’s a clip that all sports fans will enjoy:

Mariano Rivera, MLB’s all-time leader in both regular and postseason season saves, is met by long-time teammates and friends, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter, on the pitcher’s mound before walking off the field one last time to a standing ovation.


To the best closer and one of the most iconic pitchers in baseball history, I say thank you for your greatness on and off the field. Congratulations Mo on a legendary career!


See also:

A 21-stat salute to Mariano Rivera (ESPN)

Exit Sandman: Baseball bids adieu to Mariano Rivera (Sports Illustrated) 

Most Uninsured Americans Don’t Know Exchanges Open On October 1, 2013

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Leave a comment

The Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” is supposed to provide more opportunities for the uninsured to get affordable health care insurance. However, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, it appears that nearly three-quarters of the uninsured are unaware of the fact that health care exchanges will open up on October 1st.



So this is evidence that Obamacare is a law destined to fail then, right? Well, one can view the above-referenced poll in at least two ways. Sarah Kliff from the Wonkblog explains:

There are two ways to think about these poll numbers. One is that they’re a disaster: The White House has had more than three years now to talk about the Affordable Care Act, hype its benefits and get the word out about a sweeping new legislative accomplishment. If people are this uninformed right now, how are they ever going to hit projections of 7 million people enrolling in the first year?

That’s the pessimistic take. But there’s also a more optimistic case I hear when I talk to people running these marketplaces — who, it’s fair to say, have a vested stake in staying optimistic about these things. They contend that knowing that the exchanges launch on Oct. 1 is essentially meaningless for the people they’re trying to reach. Those people could sign up on Oct. 1 or Dec. 1 and still access exactly same benefits under the health-care law, since coverage purchased on the marketplaces doesn’t start until January.


Bottom line: It’s way too early to tell whether Obamacare will be a success. That said, the White House has done a terrible job at explaining the basics of the law to the general public.

Source: Three-quarters of the uninsured don’t know when Obamacare starts (Wonkblog)

Quote of the Day

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Leave a comment

“When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in the Soviet Union — like public housing in the United States — look decrepit within a year or two of their construction . . . .”

– Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winning economist

Government Shutdown vs U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Leave a comment

With time running short on a budget compromise, the likelihood of a U.S. government shutdown continues to increase as the U.S. federal government’s appropriations are set to lapse on October 1, 2013. Adding insult to injury, the secretary of the Treasury has informed Congress that, no later than October 17, 2013, the federal government will exhaust its borrowing capacity under the statutory debt ceiling.

While a government shutdown seems to go hand in hand with the U.S.’s debt ceiling crisis, it should be emphasized that both problems pose distinct challenges for government operations. Having said that, it is important to understand the differences between a government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis. For that, Boris Bershteyn, of counsel at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, provides this great summary of the relevant distinctions:

Although the government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis are occasionally conflated, they have distinct effects on government operations and on parties interacting and transacting with the government. A government shutdown occurs when federal agencies experience a lapse in their legal authority to incur financial obligations. For that reason, many federal employees cannot continue working during a shutdown and many contracts and grants are not awarded. By contrast, in a debt ceiling crisis, the government generally retains the authority to incur obligations, but may lack the cash to liquidate all of its obligations on time.

Government operations during a shutdown are controlled by rules that, albeit complex, are well-established and elaborated by past practice. The debt ceiling crisis, however, is unprecedented and little is known about the way the federal government would operate in it.

For a more in depth discussion on this topic, see Bershteyn’s informative memorandum that details government operations during a government shutdown and a debt ceiling crisis.


See also:

Question and answers about government shutdown (USA Today)

Shutdown looms larger after GOP move on Obamacare (Politico)