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The U.S. government is in trouble. The House and Senate must pass and President Obama must sign a continuing resolution (or 12 appropriations bills) before the fiscal year ends (9/30) and raise the debt ceiling (by 10/18 or so) all while a recalcitrant Republican caucus pretends that President Obama will sign any legislation that defunds or delays the signature legislative achievement of his first term. Everyone knows this work must be done, but no one sees a path to get there. Will this brinkmanship lead to a government shut down and more self-inflicted wounds on our nation's economy? Will a miscalulation by House Republicans slam the brakes on a nascent global economic recovery? Will the U.S. credit rating suffer yet again because House Republicans refuse to pay the tab for the drinks they ordered in 2001 & 2003?
The definition of government shutdown is somewhat imprecise. For purposes of this market, any of the following will trigger this market to settle as yes: 1) unpaid furloughs for large numbers of government workers due to events other than weather, 2) the U.S. government defaulting or delaying for more than 30 days payments on interest, social security, medicare bills, or military wages, or 3) a headline on the front page of the Washington Post that states the government is shut down.