By The Numbers

Ultimatums are for children and Congress: Listeners respond to the shutdown

Max Bernstein Oct 1, 2013

Across the U.S. today, government offices and national parks are closed and more than 800,000 federal employees are staying home without pay.

Welcome to Day One of what could be a lengthy shutdown of the federal government. At issue is the inability of lawmakers in Washington to agree on a budget.

Yesterday, as cable news networks’ apocalyptic countdown clocks ticked toward hour zero of the federal government shutdown, we asked listeners about their experiences with financial ultimatums.

On Facebook, we posted this question: Have you ever been in a standoff where you have had to make or respond to an ultimatum involving money? What did it take to come to an agreement?

We got a number of responses, many of which revolved around a similar theme — financial ultimatums are for children:

“Yes, but it involved a four-year-old, whose response was more reasonable and mature than what I’m seeing from Congress. So I would suggest that maybe we cut off Congress’s allowance and revoke their TV privileges and refuse them dessert until they cooperate.” — Elizabeth Platt Hamblin


“No, I’m an adult and I only deal with adults.” Cliff Barbier


“I probably locked myself in my room, because I was a child and who does that between responsible adults?” Kevin Chen

Of course, one of you did have an adult perspective on the matter:

“I rented a room in my house to a young man who thought I should give him back his security deposit, which I had kept in lieu of a month’s rent. He attacked me in my bathroom while I was in the shower. He has free rent now, he’s incarcerated.”Ellen M. Cosgrove

So, Congress. There you have it. It’s time you grew up, at least according to some Marketplace listeners.

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