6 days to a shutdown, and all is quiet

More activity may erupt in the next few days, however, if Congress and the Obama administration want to avoid closing the federal government next week.

By Charley Blaine Sep 24, 2013 6:11PM
Trading floor © Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStockThe question on the table is this: Has anything happened to suggest a deal might occur to prevent a shutdown of the government after Monday?

Answer: A little. But not much. The odds of a shutdown are high, but there's plenty of time. Greg Valliere of the Potomac Research Group thinks a deal will be cut on Monday night. It will be a bill that no one will like.

And that may help explain why the stock market ended mostly lower on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) fell 67 points to 15,335, a fourth straight loss. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) dropped 4 points to 1,697, also a fourth straight loss and the first under 1,700 since Sept. 16. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) added 3 points to 3,768.

Much of Tuesday's declines were ascribed to the uncertainty created last week by the Federal Reserve. Most traders had expected the Fed to start to trim (or taper) its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program and were shocked when the Fed didn't.

The worry over when the Fed will taper and its effect on the economy may intensify the volatility in the stock market over the next few weeks.

Investors still appear to believe that a budget deal will be cut. You can see that in the fact that the Dow is still up 17% on the year, with the S&P 500 up 19% and the Nasdaq up 24.8%. But there is some unease creeping in. The S&P 500's close below 1,700 should be watched carefully because 1,700 has acted as a strong support for the index.

And even if the government shuts down, the move won't last long. But that optimism could be put into play the longer there is no deal.

There's been a little trading. Senate Republicans are willing to vote on what's been called a "clean" spending bill. That strips out the requirement that the Affordable Care Act be defunded -- the most important piece of a spending bill passed last week.

That idea is likely to be opposed by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has been pushing to defund Obamacare at any cost. And what happens in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is anyone's guess.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, has signaled that he would consider a bill that sets federal spending at an annual rate of $968.3 billion. Liberals want a $1.058 trillion rate, which is 9.3% larger.

Even if a bill is passed and President Obama signs it, the government may be able to operate only for a few weeks. Or earlier because the big debt-ceiling fight is ahead. The Treasury is running out of cash to pay the government's bills.

If a shutdown occurs, about half the government will continue to operate, including the armed forces, air-traffic controllers and the like. Agencies that are self-supporting, such as the Federal Reserve or (and we're serious here) the U.S. Postal Service, would remain open.

But national parks would likely close. So would processing of passport applications. It might affect jobs for government contractors like Lockheed Martin (LMT) and General Dynamics (GD).

More on Top Stocks
Sep 24, 2013 6:54PM
Why wait 6 days?  Shut it down now and we'll save about $50 billion by next Monday.
Sep 24, 2013 7:10PM
We pay these congress people a ton of money.   We definitely are not getting our moneys worth.   I hope Congress is the half that does not get paid.  Dysfunctional and expensive.
Sep 24, 2013 7:10PM
Shut it down !      Shut it down !       Shut it down !

And every productive member of society will be better off.
Sep 24, 2013 6:55PM

And risk a credit rating downgrade? Nope.

I'm expecting some more can kicking down the road.

I would rather prefer a government shutdown.

Obviously, the economy and thus tax revenue isn't coming back anytime soon, therefore cutting government expenditures is the only wise option.


Sep 24, 2013 10:40PM
Sep 24, 2013 7:04PM
Why would this time be any different?  The US Government goes farther in debit.  Pretty simple and obvious that the US can't balance a budget or reduce spending.  Has no gold or silver and the dollar is about to lose its title as reserve currency of the world.  Let's audit the FED!  Let's have a plan to reduce spending.  Let's stop waste in Government.  Let's have term limits.  Let's get rid of income taxes and replace with a consumption tax.  

United States[]

In the early U.S., taxes were levied principally on consumption. , one of the two chief authors of the anonymous, favored consumption taxes in part because they are harder to raise to "" levels than incomes taxes. In the  (), Hamilton wrote:

It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end proposed—that is, an extension of the revenue. When applied to this object, the saying is as just as it is witty that, "in political arithmetic, two and two do not always make four." If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.

Although personal and corporate income taxes provide the bulk of revenue to the federal government, consumption taxes continue to be a primary source of income for state and local governments. One of the first detailed proposals of a personal consumption tax was developed in 1974 by William Andrews.

Sep 24, 2013 9:32PM
Ho Hum, another possible shutdown; Fi, Fy, Fo, Fum....
Sep 24, 2013 11:20PM
Shut the hopeless mess down....no one gives a damn anymore and everyone will applaud when the crooks run from DC.  Make it permanent.  Let's leave the constitution in tact and start over with one party - - the Constitutional party.
Sep 24, 2013 7:59PM
Endless discussions of monetary policy.  Whether tapering starts now or in October, November or December who cares.  Has it worked?  Who knows.  It's the fiscal policy that matters or in the case of our congress rather the lack of one.  If this sorry act of republicans and democrats blaming each other took place in any corporate board room they would all be gone.  I wonder which senators and congressmen will be nominated for Oscars this year for their roles in the budget and debt ceiling mess.
Sep 25, 2013 8:29AM


Chaos is the new norm.  Fear is the weapon of choice to pull off the reduction in social spending and initiating Obamacare.  A perfect diversion about anything that is actually substantive to improving our lot.  Still so many folks think there is a difference between these two groups.  This acting in concert to confuse citizens still seems to work so they go ahead on.  Poor people struggle even more while the rich and their political cronies get even more comfortable.  Lets talk about these cats exempting themselves from Obamacare and not the bone they have thrown for everyone else to fight over. Lets talk about the lies about just about everything that comes out of these stooges.  JMHO




Sep 24, 2013 8:49PM
V_L ---- " ...... breached corrupted abused and ignored since 1999...." ?

Ha --- carefully selected time frame.   This has been going on for about 100 years
Sep 25, 2013 7:49AM
Shut it down. This too will pass and we will still be a country heading for ruin because of government mismanagement and over spending, and a bunch of idiot Americans who don't know how to live without their hand out.
Sep 24, 2013 8:05PM
I suspect that NSA will be mighty busy violating our First Amendment Rights and access to elected Officials between now and then. They know how inept, stupid and anti-American they are. Literally, every aspect that Americans fought for has been breached corrupted abused and ignored since 1999. Government shutdown... as long as Wall Street is unplugged when it does and the financial sector is engulfed in Kool Aid vomit... we'll survive. If the government passes it forward and QE's Wall Street once again... we're no longer a nation. I'd like our NEW currency to be red, white and blue and our borders secured just when all the offshore stuff comes for cash out. GITMO should get the leprosy infected sheet sets ready... no vacancy there by the holidays or bust!
Sep 25, 2013 7:38AM
I wonder if the folks at the Fed is shorting stocks, then announce that QE is going to taper then after the market tanks buy back the shares and make a tidy profit.  Then announce QE will continue, stock goes up, they sell and make another tidy profit..
Sep 24, 2013 11:43PM
Hang on a moment. Did not Boehner agree with Obama the US should invade Syria! Mr Boehner  where was the money going to come from? Boehner's hypocrisy is as big as Obama's arrogance.
Sep 24, 2013 10:35PM
Too Little, Too Late. This government has spent itself irrelevant and it's a matter of time until options are gone and reality reigns. Just hope you keep your station in life as we transition.
Sep 24, 2013 10:33PM


The third and final episode of Atlas Shrugged should be out in the theaters pretty soon.  I can't wait to hear John Galt's radio speach.  Boo Yah!



Sep 25, 2013 10:44AM

We had a budget surplus not long ago.  First George Worst ever Bush cut taxes and increased spending with tens of billions on an unnecessary war in Iraq. Then Wall Street melted down  and the Fed bailed them out.  The budget deficit is slowly going down  An improving economy and modest tax increased will slowly eliminate the  deficit.  Shutting down the government and this insane fight over debt ceiling  increases and Ombacare accomplishes nothing.

We had an election in 2012 Ombama won and you tea bagger lost. Get over it.

Sep 25, 2013 5:53AM
The spending has to stop. Even the GAO say's we can't keeps spending. We need more jobs and less government! Of course,,, much less Obama... Many pray what he's killed can be revived!
Sep 25, 2013 4:40PM
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