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The wonks at Moody’s Analytics have looked at the impact of the federal budget shutdown and report the following:

“The 16-day federal shutdown and political brinkmanship around the Treasury debt ceiling hurt the economy. The hit to fourth quarter real GDP is estimated at $20 billion, equal to half a percentage point of growth. Instead of picking up pace as previously expected, U.S. growth will remain stuck near a lackluster 2%.”

The negative impact in North Carolina: around $340 million. Happily, it looks like things could’ve been worse here. Moody’s reports that North Carolina actually experienced less damage than the U.S. as a whole and suffered a proportionately lower impact than 19 other states. Based on our recent record of being near the bottom in every category, that’s a big victory!.

No word yet on whether the McCrory administration is planing some sort of a ”we suffered less!” celebration.  

 

Ted Cruz 2As we noted a few weeks back, the modern American hard right has, under the leadership of Ted Cruz and his ilk, really morphed into a kind of 21st Century anarchist movement. The goal: do whatever it takes to impose the Koch Brothers/Heritage Foundation/NRA vision of a dog-eat-dog, everyone-for-themselves society — even if it means wrecking the economy and wreaking havoc with essential public structures and services.

This is why stories like this one — in which the Associated Press spells out in painful detail the terrible damage inflicted on the country over the last couple of weeks by the Tea Party hostage crisis – are actually seen by many on the far right as a sign that they are winning. Read More

Ted CruzSo, what did all the crazy hostage-taking politics of the last few weeks produce? According to Standard and Poors, the answer is: $24 billion in lost economic activity. For those of you keeping score, that’s a sum greater than the entire annual North Carolina General Fund budget.   

But, at least, the freak show wasn’t a total loss. The new leader of American conservatism, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, bragged in a media interview that he had added two million names to the fundraising list for a right-wing PAC. 

(Photo source: http://thinkprogress.org/.

For those utterly sick of the shutdown and the absurd Tea Party hostage drama, today’s Lunch Links will provide a brief respite from that particular bit of madness. That’s not to say, however, that there isn’t other madness out there to highlight.

Take, for instance, the misguided folks at Eastern Wayne Middle School in Goldsboro who somehow got the bright idea to lead students to believe that an armed and masked robber was on the campus as part of a “safety exercise.” WTVD in Raleigh has the story.

And speaking of robbery, here’s a more encouraging story about how to respond to it: Yesterday, advocates in Albany, New York publicly smashed a slot machine to symbolize their opposition to a state ballot initiative that would allow private casinos in the state. The demonstration was a reenactment of famous New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s similar act back in 1934 which you can watch here:

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More hard and compelling facts this morning from the estimable Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research:

The story of out-of-control debts and deficits is just plain wrong. US deficits have fallen in the past four years

It is understandable that the public is disgusted with Washington; they have every right to be. At a time when the country continues to suffer from the worst patch of unemployment since the Great Depression, the government is shut down over concerns about the budget deficit.

There is no doubt that the Republicans deserve the blame for the shutdown and the risk of debt default. They decided that it was worth shutting down the government and risking default in order stop Obamacare. That is what they said as loudly and as clearly as possible in the days and weeks leading up to the shutdown. In fact, this is what Senator Ted Cruz said for 21 straight hours on the floor of the US Senate.

Going to the wall for something that is incredibly important is a reasonable tactic. However, the public apparently did not agree with the Republicans. Polls show that they overwhelmingly oppose their tactic of shutting down the government and risking default over Obamacare. As a result, the Republicans are now claiming that the dispute is actually over spending. Read More