The global costs of a U.S. shutdown
April 6th, 2011
02:18 PM ET

The global costs of a U.S. shutdown

A potential government shutdown would exacerbate global doubts about America’s capacity to get its long-term fiscal house in order, according to author Sebastian Mallaby. This would hurt confidence in the U.S. dollar and, over time, could erode America's ability to finance power projection.

Sebastian Mallaby is an economics expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite."  Here's what he had to say about the dollar, the debt and a potential shutdown:

Amar C. Bakshi: How would a shutdown of the U.S. government potentially affect American foreign policy?

Sebastian Mallaby: I think there are two channels to think about. The first is a reputational one, where allies around the world look at the United States and say, “Gee their political system is so dysfunctional they can’t even keep their government open, so what kind of a reliable ally can they be?”

I don’t want to overstate that because obviously in a government essential personnel including the armed forces are not going to be furloughed and any potential shutdown is probably not going to last very long, but I think there is some additional cost to American reputation – its reliability and competence.

The second channel to think about is the debt market because ultimately American power depends on the American financial capacity to project power. And because of the status of the dollar as a reserve currency and the almost unlimited willingness of investors all over the world to finance American government debt, it has been possible for the U.S., particularly in a crisis when there is a flight to quality in capital markets, to count easy and plentiful funding to support its foreign policies.

So you have the irony that the Chinese and the Russians might vote against, let’s say the Iraq War in the UN Security Council, but then turn around and finance the Iraq War by buying American government debt.

So it really is a matter of enormous importance whether this reflexive unquestioning willingness of foreigners to buy American government debt might be undermined at some point, because at that point American power projection becomes a lot more complicated.

To the extent that people draw a lesson from the government shutdown that the American political system cannot even resolve a fight over thirty billion dollars, how on earth are they going to resolve a fight over a multi-trillion dollar long-term budget deficit?

It probably shakes the market’s confidence in American medium to long-term fiscal responsibility and that makes it harder to persuade investors to buy American debt?

Is confidence already shaken just by talk of a potential government shutdown?

I don’t think you could look at the markets in the last few days and draw any meaningful conclusions about that because there are always other things going on that affect interest rates, but I think it stands to reason that there has already been - especially since the financial crisis when the U.S. budget deficit massively increased - this unstable situation where some of the main purchasers of American government debt, such as the Chinese Central Bank, have been publicly wishing and moaning that the dollar would not be the sole reserve currency in the world.

So the chief buyers of this reserve currency don’t like this reserve currency, and that’s a contradiction that makes the dollar’s future status a matter of some doubt. The way that you could persuade the Chinese to calm down and be relaxed about the dollar as a long term store of value would be if you could say to the Chinese, “Look, Washington knows how to manage its fiscal deficit. They’re going to bring it under control. Don’t worry.” But if you cannot even resolve a relatively small disagreement over the remaining six months of one fiscal year, can you credibly argue that you are going to solve the huge entitlement problem?

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Topics: Economy • Politics • Q&A • United States

soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Onesmallvoice

    What needs to be shut down is all U.S. military bases outside of the U.S. and military operations around the world in such places as Iraq,Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    April 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • John

      Another very sensible comment here. Thank you,Onesmallvoice.

      April 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Reply
    • Dennis L. Siluk

      Obama, again I say the worse president America has had in 63 years, doesn't know a think about government, why are we now in Lybia? There is no American Crisis there, for God sake, get out of there. Obama has not once listened to the American people, he's had three years to put the country back into some kind of order, we are worse off not than before. He's worse than Bush, matter of fact, he's still doing Bush's work. No American soldier should go to war in anohter country unless there is a crisis in his country.

      April 7, 2011 at 12:39 am | Reply
      • John

        Thank you,Dennis. That was well said.

        April 7, 2011 at 12:48 am |
      • julie

        Sorry I would have to disagree with America being in other countries, like Lybia. We are the most powerful Country in the world, we should be taking the lead and helping these people, just like we did in Iraq. Saddam and Gaddafi are tyrants, they need to be stopped before they come back onto American soil and if for nothing else to help the Iraqi and Lybia people.

        April 7, 2011 at 8:13 am |
      • Caveman

        DUuuuude... when are you going to get it? The president is not the one doing all this. It's the people you "don't" see that are mismanaging things. He's the front man, you ought to feel sorry for him becuase he's got to put his face on TV and have misinformed people point the finger at him just like you did... C'mon man, get your head out of your butt and look at the big picture. There's more than just one man running this country.

        April 7, 2011 at 8:34 am |
      • MASSHOLE187

        @ julie #1 How can we be the most powerful country on the planet when we owe trillions of dollars to china, japan, etc. #2 The "people" we're saving from Gadaffi are just going to turn around burn our flags and scream death to America the second we leave. #3 your dumb, open your eyes and stop believing all this s*** you read about our great country CUZ IT AINT!

        April 7, 2011 at 11:10 am |
      • Tim

        There IS a crisis in this country if we do not get involved in the Arab world- sky-high oil prices caused by instability and resentment from governments that will significantly limit the amount of oil they export to the United States. As China and India continue to increase their marketshare of crude oil, America has to protect its interests in the life-blood of its economy. If we appear indifferent to the livelihood of people in Arab countries, they will be less willing to be in business with us unless we pay a premium for their oil. This may not be happening on our soil, but think what $10/gallon gas prices would do to our economy and way of life. Granted, there isn't a great solution either way, but adopting an isolationist point of view for a global economy that can't sustain itself solely with it's own products is foolish. We need them as badly as they need us, even if it is a whore's bed we lie on.

        April 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
      • What Happened to all the good people?

        It's about right and wrong. Sure the Libyans man turn around and burn our flag, but that doesn't mean they should be left for butchering. With great power comes great responsibility. Same goes for Iraq and Afghanistan, if they want to burn a bible so be it, the preacher in Florida burned a Koran without being harmed. I think the U.S. needs to stop worrying so much about how others feel about us, not many people like the top of the chain. Do whats right, because it needs to be done and we are the only nation that will. Also for those who say close all bases around the globe, bring all the troops stateside. See WWI and WWII for what happens when the U.S. decides isolationism is it's policy. "I do not know what the WWIII will be fought with, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones."....So let's stay to ourselves and let dictators eradicate their own populations while stockpiling weapons. It works every time?

        April 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
      • Pete

        It's obvious they are in Lybia because there is an interest (oil). Just like Iraq.

        April 8, 2011 at 3:44 am |
      • Joshua Wertheim

        DLS: I'm sorry but the worst president in the past 63 years was George Bush jr. (extend that – the worst president since Herbert Hoover, and maybe even worse than him). Obama is just doing his best to pickup the pieces of the mess Bush left behind – the housing crisis, the recession/depression, the huge deficit, the banking mess, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the distrust that the rest of the world has toward the U.S., Cheney's Halliburton taking the no-bid contracts and moving its headquarters to Dubai, and let's not forget that the political landscape of creepy Conservatism, circle-the-wagons and over-the-top Chauvinism was a direct result of both Bushes too. The cost of healthcare skyrocketed under Bush jr. The quality of our educational system began a downhill dive under Bush Sr. And I say this as a fiscal conservative (social liberal) who absolutely abhors the Republican party as it now stands because it tries to legislate social issues even in the face of the shutdown of our government, which is the most irresponsible behavior I have ever seen.

        April 9, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • WT

      Though i am a conservative when it comes to military, i have to concede that military spending is taking its toll on the US Economy. I just think the United States needs to stop fighting wars that aren't neccessary, when i say the United States, i mean you Republicans. You Republicans been in love with war througout history and all i can say is this, if you are going to start a war that would bury the tax payers in debt, at least make your wealthy friends chip in for it. TAX CUT + WARS = NO BUENO. Anyways, investing in Education is vital to our success in the long run. I hate to say this but Republicans lost their sights on the Economy, their policys just dont work. Republicans believe in deregulation free market. Well, Deregulation free market = financial crisis. Iraq also costed US over $3 trillion, Republicans done way more damamge compared to Democrats. Thats my speculation...

      April 7, 2011 at 7:30 am | Reply
      • helobubba

        Actually, Democrats have gotten the U.S. into more wars in the past 100 years than Republicans: Wilson & WWI; Roosevelt & WWII; Truman & Korea; Johnson & Vietnam (Nixon actually got us out of it) and Clinton & Kosovo.

        April 7, 2011 at 8:41 am |
      • salvatore

        bush and panama, bush and grenada, bush and iraq, bush and afghanistan, bush and iraq

        April 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • no

      I disagree, the whole reasoning why we poke out nose in everyone's business around the world is to gain strategic positioing. Think about it, since WW2 we have used that practice. You need help? Ok, lets make a deal....we (the US) will help you with aid, or whatever, BUT we build a base in your country. It is very smart, strategically.

      April 7, 2011 at 8:32 am | Reply
    • BOB NEWHART

      You're an idiot!

      We have military installments throughout the world so you can have your freedom.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • c.tho

        Freedom from what, another far away out of touch government? Take a moment to consider how viewpoints are colored by the way in which they recieve their information and from where it came. We Americans are basically good people, but then so are most people in the world. We fight to protect our interests, and our interests are to dominate resources and culture for the most part. Our bases exist to project that domination onto the world via the threat of our military. Or put another way, our bases exist to guarantee we have resources and somebody else goes without. Or another way, they exist to keep people free from oppression (i.e. from politics that differ from OUR ideals). Funny I'm a center-right and this seems a logical viewpoint to me...

        April 11, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Jeff Hethroe

      Be wary of chinese propagandists trying to convince us to remove our forward deployed bases overseas. They are manipulative, and will oftem try to mix anti-war sentiment with closing doen our superpower status. Those are teo different concepts. Histoically speaking, both world wars happened during periods of US isolationism. And a third "imminent" world war was successfully avoided for 60 years with forward deployment. No nation wants a fight, they want an easy win. Dont give that to them and they wont fight you. its human nature. forward deployment is defense.

      Othewise, how long until China decides that some 500 year old maps mean they own parts of japan and the fillipines. or they seize taiwan as their north korean allies attack the south. how could we respond? lets not tempt them.

      also the deficit is several times more than our military budget. its not the cause of our budget problems. we could do without some wars but not without our forward bases.

      April 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Medief kass

      alliances of inevitable fragmentation is an art, overseas bases never has & will not be a major budget issue for office. .

      April 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • Stephan

      The grass is always greener when looking in, the primary issue I have seen over the past 12 years are people with opinions that do nothing. People think that docking the military will fix the issue, we consist of less that 1% of the entire country. During this shutdown we will still be outside of the wire fighting and dieing and you people will still be sitting on your couch bitching about how bad you have it, get with it and blast your congressmen and women to fix it. We elected them make them earn their money.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • Pacer

      For those who want to close all the offshore military bases immediately, think about this: With our economy and jobs situation in its current state, are you sure it's the best time to repatriate a lot of trained fighters to the homeland? If so you better plan to keep them fully-employed by the armed forces in some capacity (border control, infrastructure security, school crossing guards, whatever). Because a big group of unemployed soldiers always spells trouble just ask any scholar of Roman history...

      April 8, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • cgb54

      I'm a Vet. That's my committment to this country, but now lets look at it all....a long look and maybe take action to correct our country. do you see Russia in any other country right now, or China for that fact. Seems we the US should be home, here in country ot trying to protect so many when those neighbors won't commit their troops in these police actions in foreign lands. Seems a good thing to me. All thatmoney would be here in US. Our troops would be here.We have border issues in this country, lets place our troops in area of the border and let them protect our borders , like other countries do. It's 2011 not 1950, lets change for the better.

      April 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  2. Stonefox

    President Obama says that congress needs to come together as adults and resolve the budget issue. This morning I was watching Rep. Jeb Hensarling, (R-TX), and Rep. Steny Hoyer, (D-MD) on CNBC and if these two clowns are typical of our representatives, and I think they are, you can forget about anyone acting like an adult. It was a disgusting display of immature partisanship.

    April 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  3. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The only way to fix health care is to go to a single payer system. A single payer system is the ONLY system that will allow "we the people" to negotiate better health care prices.

    D_umb A__ Ryan says a voucher system (to buy insurance) would keep costs down by encouraging competition. That is utter BS! Insurance is one of the main problems in our health care system today. Here's why:

    1. Insurance wastes from 10-25% of our hard earned health care dollars already today. And insurance provides NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. The money is ALL WASTED! Insurance is NOT the answer! If insurance WAS the answer, then we wouldn't have a PROBLEM today!

    2. Some say interstate sales of insurance would control health care costs. That is utter BS too! Assume all providers in an area charge $100 for a visit. Then it doesn’t matter how many insurance companies “compete” (yeah right) with each other. Each insurance company will still have to reimburse the provider for the $100 service PLUS the insurance company’s administrative expenses. We need competition at the provider level and get rid of insurance completely.

    3. Competition needs to be at a provider level and not at an insurance level in order to work. That being said, then the providers should ALREADY be competing on prices regardless of insurance or not. But the providers are NOT competing on prices. So since the providers don’t/won’t compete on prices, then “we the people” need a way to negotiate better prices. And a single payer system is the ONLY way to do that.

    4. Some say tort reform is the answer. Tort reform will put more money in the Provider’s pockets that’s for sure. But how would you legislate that the “savings” would be passed on to the subscriber? The money will go to the providers and that’s where it will stay. But of course we’d all get the benefit of crappier doctors. If that’s a benefit?

    5. Some say HSA’s are the answer. HSA’s are already available. HSA’s have not and will not have any effect on what providers charge. The real problem is what provider’s charge in the first place.

    April 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  4. JOSH

    Politicians, bankers, insurers, hedge fund guys, are driving America over the edge. Really, they do not care if the government shutdown or not. All they care is make more money for themselves or their goonies, be elected every two or six years, sign laws without read them, go against whatever the AMERICAN PEOPLE needs to have a decent live. What the heck, they are a bunch of millionaries running a slave farm. American dream? yeah, UNITED SLAVES OF AMERICA.

    April 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Letty

      Your right 'josh" united slaves america. Our politicians kept on talking but they don't care and they did not read what laws they're trying to put on the "SB". They call the "United Slaves America" the land of opportunity according to the news.

      April 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Reply
    • Jeff Hethroe

      i sure dont feel like a slave. i wonder what jealous country you two are from. googling american names is easy
      ...

      April 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  5. Anon

    For there to be a reputation of reliability and competance, it must first be true that the government is reliable and/or competant. As it is that isn't the case in any respect. Until our finances are on the track to being in order, we will not gain such luxuries as being considered reliable or competant. The government must first be considered either reliable or competant at home before it should even care about opinion abroad.

    Shut it down. There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, and to the people who support it that unless they take real and immediate measures to reduce the deficit, the machine will be prevented from working at all."
    Unless the government returns to fiscal sanity...SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN.

    April 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • James

      Sure Anon, shut it down. But then let's really shut it down, no police, no firemen, no boarder guards the military should stand down and only respond to attacks on american property (no agressive operations). Let see how fast you would actually regret that decision as anarchy begins to reign. Let the theives steal your property, let the country be invaded by uncontrolled immigration. As your house burns down let nobody respond to help you. When your employer decides not to pay you this week (just because he doesn't feel like it) who do you turn to to protect your rights, the government? Oops, the government is shutdown! Wake up and smell what you are shoveling!

      April 7, 2011 at 8:46 am | Reply
      • c.tho

        Do you really think so many of your neighbors are evil fiends that wanton violence would reign the streets? I doubt it in my neighborhood. Many an armed citizen, even out of work police, etc... would be protecting their interests. Some would band together for greater protection, then presto! An organized "government" of sorts... no more anarchy!

        April 11, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  6. j. von hettlingen

    "A potential government shutdown"! Why not? It is not a big deal! It happened before, 1995 under the Clinton. Maybe one should send the congress on a cruise in the Atlantic or Pacific. When hit by a heavy storm, everybody would pray together and hope for a safe journey home.

    April 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Reply
  7. California Conservative

    I guess demcorats should of done their job last year but then again what else did we expect from the "do nothing" (FleeBagger) party.

    April 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  8. james2

    America seriously needs to take a look at reforming its campaign finance system if it wants to preserve any semblance of a democracy (key word: wants). There is so much money and corporate influence souping around the system that it has gotten to the point where elected officials do not even remotely, accurately represent what the American people want. It doesnt matter how parties America allows to run the government. As long as political campaigns are so closely tied to money the system is broken beyond what anybody can imagine.

    April 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • Lynn

      I agree. Corporations want to be counted as individuals to give money to their politician of choice and in no small change. So, why don't they pay individual income tax like real citizens, especially those making less than 50,000 and single. (like widows working shifts until retirement, not a desk job).

      April 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      • c.tho

        Corporations are groups of people... They don't have self or income like a person. Tax them like an individual and see how much higher the prices you pay become. When it costs you $25 for a loaf of bread and $200k for a Ford Taurus you might see how that works. Inflation and corporate taxes are costs paid by the widows to which you refer. Think about it... do you really think the cost of higher corporate taxes won't be passed on to the consumer?

        April 11, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  9. james2

    *how many

    April 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Reply
    • james2

      Just an example of how unbearably broken American politics has become, check out this video. It boggles my mind what country would buy bonds from a government that hires a 27 year old college dropout over a PhD engineer who has 25 years experience.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXrFxtyRk6g&w=640&h=390]

      April 7, 2011 at 12:29 am | Reply
  10. Alzen

    What gets me is that of all the proposed cutbacks in long-term spending for Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare, and Social Security, the budget cuts to military spending is small. From childhood to adult, we are brainwashed through tv cartoons and play station games to kill the "bad" guys. Every citizen is allowed to own guns. Weapons are instilled in our culture. But why should we sacrifice so much of our hard-earned dollars to build, purchase and maintain expensive military hardware, planes, ships, bombs and missiles? Why should we have to pay higher healthcare costs due to the increasing poor health of those who eat too much and don't exercise? We should charge lower health premiums to those who exercise regularly and are not obese.

    April 7, 2011 at 1:03 am | Reply
    • seraphim0

      Alzen, we already do give lower premiums to those who have a regular physical, do not smoke, etc. Check with your HR department. My company had two different rates- one for those who have a regular physical and blood work done, etc, and one for those who do not. Those who did had a nearly 50% lower premium than those who did not. If your company did not negotiate for this sort of thing, that is your company's fault, not a general issue.

      Additionally, not everyone on medical aid programs is obese, poor, and lazy. Take a look at what the program covers before making general statements. Pray you never get disabled and are unable to work... if we just those programs, you'll not be able to afford health insurance.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
  11. julie

    Well then Obama is doing his job, he is suppose to bring America down, he sure is doing a good job of that.

    April 7, 2011 at 8:06 am | Reply
    • seraphim0

      Yeah. Healthcare, wall street reform, putting more border agents on the ground and overseeing more deportations than the previous administration, greatly reducing our presence in iraq, getting the economy on the path to recovery, helping a country try to throw off the yoke of tyranny and oppression. Yep. He's pulling the country down, alright. Let me guess, had be been doing something right, in your mind, he would have- kept the border patrol as it was without any additional funding, not put money toward repairing america's infrastructure, not tried to push renewable energy initiatives, left wall street as it was (because they were doing such a bang-up job before), left all of our combat troops in iraq, left the economy as it was and crossed his fingers, and let libya rot?

      Nice perspective.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
  12. gabrielfromamos

    It is very clear now that our society is not going in the right direction:

    -High social inequality within and between nations;
    -Environmental degradation (loss of biodiversity, ocean acidification, oil spills, climate change, aquifer depletion...);
    -High unemployment;
    -High infrastructure deficit;
    -Increasing incidence of cancer, anxiety, alcoholism, allergies...;
    -Insolvent pension plans;
    -Quickly rising health care costs;
    -Disillusioned youth;

    If we know that our society is not going in the right direction and that numerous societal problems are not being resolved, should we not turn the ship and move in a new direction? We have been adhering to this debt-based, globalized economic model and electing politicians representing the same old ideologies for numerous decades and our problems are only accumulating and getting worse.

    Let’s stop running away from our problems and let’s tackle them with new ideas. Feel free to visit my blog where I discuss our current challenges and share some positive insights along with a few potential solutions: http://gabrielfromamos.wordpress.com/

    Support your local organic farmers!

    April 7, 2011 at 8:49 am | Reply
  13. Gypsy King

    Who really cares what the 'world' thinks about our country and since when has it affected how we govern or treat the rest of the world? If there is any country on earth who behaves as if we not only are the biggest child in the sandbox, but we OWN the sandbox and the playground and the contractors who built it, it's the USA.
    Unless your country has something we want, we don't care about anything you do or say but if you are on our radar you better watch out – we take what we want and we pay better than anybody else to do it for us.
    Allah bless the USA!

    April 7, 2011 at 9:14 am | Reply
  14. Phil

    Do you realy think , that the American army is there to help poor citizens of country's like Afghanistan , Irak and Lib ? the only reason they are there is for the OIL !! If they didn't do it for the oil , why dont they help poor citizens in Zimbawe and South-Africa ? In South-Africa politicians openly say stuff like " kill the farmers". They won't cut down on the army , cause they need the army to get to oil

    April 7, 2011 at 9:15 am | Reply
  15. JPhillips

    People our government is beyond broken.
    They purposely accomplish nothing.... They represent the wants & needs of about 5% of America. They live by a different set of rules & standards than we do. They allow conflict all over the world by supporting brutal dictators & selling the most weapons of any country in the world. We attack countries on the basis of happy things like "spreading democracy" & "protecting the will of the people" while all along there only purpose is to make it easier for our corporations to plunder there natural resources. They tax us to death while giving "foriegn aid" to almost 80% of the worlds foriegn governments, they allow our banks to act with no moral regard for the greater good then use our tax dollars to bail them out, while at the same time tightening the rules for bankruptcy.......

    If you make between 0 & 150K total household income, your government doesn't care about you, actually by looking at there actions it wouldn't be a hard argument to say you are your governments enemy. It doesn't matter if your black, white, yellow, brown, gay, straight, bi, pro-life, pro-choice, anti-immigration, pro amnesty, red, blue left, right, liberal or conservative.
    ALL THAT MATTERS IS HOW MUCH YOUR TOTAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME IS!
    That is what seperates us from them, that is how we should vote. Until then we can just keep going around in circles, complaining about how bad the president is and voting the GOP out, then the dems, then the GOP, then the Dems.......

    April 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  16. sonny orr

    It's very informed to note the oil. , Its the foundation of our entire money system worldwide.Since WW 1 its been all of our world actions., At the bottom line has been oil base ,USA or England or 30',40' Europe.Dont leave out 30's 40's Japan,it's been oil.One day it may come to pass the the powers will not be a nation ,but my oil , my army

    April 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  17. Nate

    @Bob Newhart: "You're an idiot! We have military installments throughout the world so you can have your freedom."

    That's a laugh. We don't need to have 700+ overseas installations and spend roughly $1 trillion per year to "defend our freedom." There is no Soviet Union or other great existential threat and there hasn't been for 20 years. The most we have to be worried about is a few thousand guys spread out between deserts, caves and jungles from Africa to Asia. We're wasting a ton of money on "defense" that would be better spent at home. And before someone calls me a "liberal/communist/hippie", I served in the military until 2009, so that argument won't work.

    April 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  18. THE UNITED STATES OF CHINA

    dont worry everyone. we are going to be borrowing so much money from the chinese, we should just turn to communism now before they force it on us. haha

    cause if we keep paying for old people who couldnt save there money for the 50 plus years they been working to get medicare or give immigrants a free pass or keep sucking money into our school systems ( that is one of the worst in the world...). lets be like the both parties....give tax free to big companies or give money to poor people. either way we will not work this out....and we will just go more into debt, then China is going to be like "where's my money?!?.....then what?

    whats our excuse....its like a stupid ass spender telling a bank..... "well i cant really pay you back this week, cause the Libya needed help and immagrants want freedom and stuff....so i kinda spent the money on that....haha

    I cant wait until the Chinese say " No more money for you!"
    cause these guys right now are just boasting up there military just to do that in the future.

    i remember their being 5 super powers in the world ( Russia, China, Germany, U.S., France, Britain)

    now out of all these people, who do you think is the smartest right now? the 3 at the end who are in constent war with other countries or the 2 countries in front that when the wars we fight end, they go in to look like the good guys cause they stayed out and reap the benefits.....

    i love this country :)

    April 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Reply
    • seraphim0

      Wow. Deluded much?

      April 8, 2011 at 10:31 am | Reply
  19. Bigwilly

    USC=United States of China. America you have bankrupted yourselves. You don’t have money to run your Government? How sad. Keep going to wars give it a couple of more years and China will own you. Idiots

    April 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • seraphim0

      I'd love to know what country you're from, Willy. Considering the EU's extreme problems this last year.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply
  20. Zoglet

    Love CNNs "international" coverage of this issue.

    1)- no ones says "gee" accept Americans (and mostly not even them).

    2)-this unstable situation where some of the main purchasers of American government debt, such as the Chinese Central Bank, have been publicly wishing and moaning that the dollar would not be the sole reserve currency in the world.

    Its not "moaning and wishing" when the country who has the good fortune to have their currency used on the international stock exchange has seen that country lead the world into a major economic crash and who have demonstrated zero willingness to learn from that experience or to make tough changes that might prevent it happening again.

    Enough with the flag waving rhetoric- how about some decent, truely objective reporting?

    April 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  21. midgick

    Hi everyone,
    I have read all the comments and agree with some, disagree with others, and totally reject the Loony Tune radicals.
    Most of you all forget that we (Americans) have a very unique political system. We encourage and exhort our citizens to voice their opinions and demand certain ideals that are Death Sentences in most countries on our planet.
    They don't get our political/religious and social discourses.
    Frankly, I don't give a rat's behind what Somalia or Syria or Whoever thinks about our system. These people have fought and died senselessly for thousands of years. They don't understand or get what we enjoy as Americans and they probably never will, but there is always hope.

    So ,to come to full circle, screw them. Let's do what American's can do the best & that is do what is morally right, protect the aged, protect ourselves. protect our children and hope that the rest of our world catches up and starts to treat each other as one who would do the same for family.

    April 9, 2011 at 12:34 am | Reply
  22. The real son of the prophit

    For the people that wants the government to shut down is wrong cause yall are trustin people that one day are goin to end up killin us to save them selfs just like they doin to our trops we are fightin wars for no reason at all im pretty mad that the people dont know what the government is tryin to do to us but i know alot iv been whatchin them studing them how manny lies they have told us they dont want to listen to the people cause they dont need us even though they do cause we the people made them be who they are right know....................

    April 9, 2011 at 1:14 am | Reply
  23. Joshua Wertheim

    DLS: I'm sorry but the worst president in the past 63 years was George Bush jr. (extend that – the worst president since Herbert Hoover, and maybe even worse than him). Obama is just doing his best to pickup the pieces of the mess Bush left behind – the housing crisis, the recession/depression, the huge deficit, the banking mess, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the distrust that the rest of the world has toward the U.S., Cheney's Halliburton taking the no-bid contracts and moving its headquarters to Dubai, and let's not forget that the political landscape of creepy Conservatism, circle-the-wagons and over-the-top Chauvinism was a direct result of both Bushes too. The cost of healthcare skyrocketed under Bush jr. The quality of our educational system began a downhill dive under Bush Sr. And I say this as a fiscal conservative (social liberal) who absolutely abhors the Republican party as it now stands because it tries to legislate social issues even in the face of the shutdown of our government, which is the most irresponsible behavior I have ever seen.

    April 9, 2011 at 2:02 am | Reply
  24. simplex

    From the other side of the world, I can see that Obama will do the right thing in the situation you are in, whether it will work or not, no one knows, things are hectic all over the world, give him all your support, forget about political parties for now, pull together, we LOVE America with all its faults, and will keep all of you in our prayers !

    April 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Reply
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    October 20, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
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