Baum on Money: Countdown to Shutdown?
Happy Friday. You know what that means: You're on your own for the next two days. For today, though, I'm happy to share some of the articles I'm reading.
When in doubt, hold a vote
House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a vote today on a bill to fund the government in the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, and defund portions of the Accountable Care Act. The road is "fraught with peril," including a loss of support among independent voters, according to the Washington Post. The Senate will strip the bill of the defunding part, toss it back to the House with days left before the federal government is forced to shut down. Then what? It's unclear whether Boehner has a Plan B.
Funding the government is just a warm-up act
The bigger threat is the battle over the debt ceiling, which will need to be raised sometime after mid-October. Some Washington insiders think there could be a breach, albeit brief, of the debt limit. There are no talks going on between the White House and Republicans in Congress. Boehner says he's not going to raise the debt limit without offsetting spending cuts. President Barack Obama has said he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. Apparently the president finds Bashar al-Assad less of a challenge than Boehner. And it's all about who gets the blame.
What's the solution for hyper-partisanship?
Nature abhors a vacuum, but no one in Washington is anxious to fill it, Don Wolfensberger writes in a Roll Call op-ed. "The closest thing in physics is negative energy: Washington is beginning to resemble a giant black hole into which any hint of positive energy or creativity is sucked." Procedural devices may achieve short-term gains, he says, but "only public opinion, combined with true national leadership in both branches, can turn things around." Hear, hear.
Quality and quantity
It's not just the number of U.S. jobs created since the recession that has been below par; it's the kind of jobs, writes Laura Andrea Tyson on the New York Times's Economix blog. During the recession, 60 percent of the jobs lost were in middle-income occupations. In the last year, more than 40 percent of the new jobs have been in low-wage sectors. While that may be the rule rather than the exception, according to some studies, the answer -- as it is to so many of the nation's problems -- is faster economic growth.
Your video of the day
The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel talks to former Fed governor Larry Meyer about what kind of chairman Janet Yellen would make. Here's a snippet: "No one in the history of the Fed has been as prepared to be chairman," Meyer says.
(Caroline Baum is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow her on Twitter.)