Does the Government Shutdown Delay the Debt Ceiling Indefinitely?

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The government is shut down. Since Social Security, Medicare, and other mandatory programs make up the bulk of federal spending, this doesn’t mean we’re no longer spending money. But we’re spending a lot less. At least a third less, I think, and that should put us pretty close to balanced budget levels of spending. We might even be under that.

So….does this mean that we’re no longer running up new debt? And does that in turn mean that we’re not going to hit the debt ceiling as long as the government remains shut down? Have we gotten any kind of estimate from the Treasury Department about this?

POSTSCRIPT: Just to make this clear, I’m aware that once the shutdown is resolved all the money not being spent now will be disbursed. (Assuming that Congress approves back pay for furloughed workers, which I’m not sure I’d bet on.) But that’s only after the shutdown is resolved. In the meantime, we’re no longer barreling toward a breach of the debt ceiling, are we?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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