In the long run, the USA is in the same situation as Greece but in the short run all the haggling over the debt ceiling seemed inefficient, the stakes a bit too high. Here’s how it went down in my state. The Democratic governor and the Republican controlled legislature could not come up with a budget deal and the state government actually shut down for two weeks. At first, all I noticed was that construction sites were inactive, and you couldn’t buy lottery tickets (?). Over the first two weeks the sides seemed only to stiffen their resolve. Then there was this (Star Tribune 7/13):
The Department of Public Safety told the brewer it must stop distribution in Minnesota and devise a plan to pull its product from the shelves, including Coors, Coors Lite, Miller Lite, Miller High Life and 35 other name-brand beers. That would decimate choices for consumers.
On June 30, one day before the government shutdown, the company received a letter from the state that its brand licenses had expired. State employees who would typically renew those licenses have been deemed noncritical during the shutdown and laid off.
That got people talking! The next day, this
The governor of Minnesota and the state’s Republican lawmakers announced on Thursday that they had, at last, reached a deal on the state’s budget, bringing what is expected to be a swift reopening of government services.
I can report that beer access is now safely back to its pre-crisis state. The key to ending an impasse is to have something really annoying but not catastrophic happen while the impasse occurs. Default was the current topic in Washington, but this is pretty severe. As was done over 2000 years ago in Lysistrata, a crisis should focus on something both more and less pressing at some levels, in this case have a clause that says ‘no more beer until a compromise is reached.’ That would provide the same incentives but not affect our credit rating.
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