That’s the time until the United States defaults on what it owes unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.
A default on the U.S. debt is like jumping off a cliff. We aren’t sure exactly where we’ll land, but we know it’ll be bad.
As The Wall Street Journal so casually put it Thursday, “Financial markets are increasingly showing signs of stress.”
Stress? You betcha.
A Bloomberg article this week compared a potential default to the crash of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, a failure that triggered massive economic pain across the globe.
Five years ago, the housing bubble and Wall Street’s exploitive role in it contributed to Lehman’s demise. The pain was felt by everyone, from large financial institutions down to mom-and-pop homeowners. Our economy is still recovering from the Great Recession.
We are now staring at a Tea Party Bubble. Just like a housing bubble, this condition can’t last forever. Reality will eventually set in: 1. The results of the 2012 presidential election can’t be revoked, nor can the Supreme Court’s ruling that Obamacare is constitutional. 2. President Obama won’t agree to destroy the Affordable Care Act. 3. The current shutdown — plotted by Tea Party leaders, their sugar daddies and their Republican representatives in Congress — is sinking the GOP in the eyes of the public.
When that happens … pop.
House Speaker John Boehner offered a proposal Thursday to the president. The House would delay the debt-ceiling fight for six weeks while keeping the government shut down.
Count it as a positive sign that Boehner and his leadership team recognize that flirting with default would be a disaster.
Count it as a negative that Boehner continues to reinforce the notion that his authority is held captive by a band of perhaps 40 radical Tea Party congressmen and their deep-pocketed contributors. These Tea Partiers have demonstrated (a.) the ability to shut down the government despite the wishes of responsible Republican and Democratic lawmakers and (b.) the inability to craft a coherent reason for shutting it down or realistic terms for re-opening it.
Speaker Boehner, who we must remember is third in the line of succession to the presidency, continues to look like a middle-manager led around by the nose by a small group of unhappy shareholders.
Boehner faces a hero-or-goat moment. He can corral a coalition of Republicans and Democrats who will end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. Now.
The alternative will be deadly for the economy.