Why we need the government shutdown to happen

The U.S. Capitol dome is seen at sunset in Washington, D.C., Sept. 25, 2013.

Another government shutdown is on the horizon. But is that better than a debt limit breach later?

"There's no question about that," says Sudeep Reddy of the Wall Street Journal. "A shutdown in the coming days would be a good way to purge the politics -- the really nasty politics -- out of the system now. And the cost of this, while there will be some concern, it won't be huge. The bigger issue to watch here is how will the shutdown fight dynamics play into the debt ceiling debate down the road. That is really what matters here, whether things get so crazy in the shutdown that it dooms any other negotiation for the debt ceiling."

The Guardian's Heidi Moore agrees.

"Breaching the debt ceiling would be catastrophic for the economy, for the faith and credit fo the U.S. government...and also for our faith in America as a functioning country and not a banana republic," she says. "We can't toy with these things. As the president said, the dollar is the reserve currency for the world; the whole world economy does hinge on us to some extent. So we can't play with these things. If it's a matter of shutting down the government -- that's about as rare as air molecules; we do that all the time and it's not a problem. But the whole debt ceiling thing is ridiculous."

And Sudeep and Heidi have offered their picks for longreads this autumn weekend.

Sudeep's picks:

  • About 2 percent of the world's population may have a form of prosopagnosia -- the inability to recognize faces. In the Atlantic, Sanjana Chowhan documents some of their incredible experiences.
  • "America's lockups are its new asylums." The Wall Street Journal's Gary Fields and Erica Phillips take us into the nation's largest jail systems, which overwhelmingly represent the largest mental-health treatment facilities in the U.S.
  • James Verini, writing for the New Yorker, brings us stories from people who survived the Westgate terrorist attack in Kenya. Amid gunfire, one woman drafted text messages to family and friends on her phone. "I was waiting for the last minute to press send."

Heidi's picks:

  • As the Federal Reserve tries -- and fails -- to start wrapping up its easy-money stimulus, Reuters has started a really interesting series, cleverly titled Uneasy Money, looking at the real-world effects of a program that seems to be pie in the sky. Today, how PIMCO, one of the world's largest manager of bond funds, benefits from the Fed's efforts.
  • Education in the U.S. is the crisis we haven't even started to really examine or reform yet. Yes, we all know that student loans are going to pitch us into the deepest depths of lending hell, but the conflict starts earlier, in elementary school. A really nice, erudite piece by Andrew Delbanco in the New York Review of Books looks at the two visions of education for young students.
  • It's not a longread, or even a longwatch, but this segment from the "Today" show is useful and informative about how banks are creating new fees. $41 billion. That's how much banks are taking from consumers just to watch over their money.This is required viewing, and start watching your statements if you don't already!

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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