Among The Casualties of the Shutdown – Some Members of Congress

Americans are fed up with the shutdown and the never-ending charade in Washington.  And according to a recent poll on Yahoo Finance they’re not planning on forgetting about this when the next election comes around.  A full 59% of respondents say they won’t vote for the incumbent in their Congressional district.  It’s about time Congress starts to get the message here.  We’re fed up with the bickering and the inability to work together.  And if you can’t get your act together then we’ll hire someone else who can.



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Cullen Roche

Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services. He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance and Understanding the Modern Monetary System.

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  • Very Serious Sam

    Since a lot of the incumbents have sufficiently shown that they are a bunch of irresponsible clowns, this ‘no way’ seems to be a rather sensible vote.

  • Pete

    We have the exact government the people of the United States want. Electing 536 elected officials is enough data points to see this country is bitterly divided and its not random. The American people simultaneously want more government spending while reducing our national debt. People in 2013 seem to think they can get their fiscal house in order, have zero interest rates forever, and grow entitlements all while wages haven’t budged in three decades. This will have almost zero effect on house races in 2014. People tell pollsters all kinds of stuff remind me of New Years resolutions, passionately uttered in the moment but quickly discarded within days. Next week will bring something new and all will be forgotten. Syria seemed like a big problem also. Well it is if you are Syrian I guess, anyone know if that conflict has crossed 150,000 deaths yet?

  • Tom Brown

    I caught just the tail end of a interesting study the other day. I can’t definitively recount what was said, but the basic idea was this: Somebody wanted to determine how poll takers answer questions, especially political questions. So in case 1 they just asked the questions like normal, however some of the questions were pretty outlandish. In case 2, with a different group of people, but the same questions, the people answering the questions were informed that there were right and wrong answers, and that they’d be paid for each correct answer. They had VERY different results. So the question were of a factual, but political nature. Not opinion type questions. For example, they may have asked “Was Obama born in Kenya.” So Republicans answering this question w/o the possibility of being paid for the correct answer would mostly say “Yes” to demonstrate their party allegiance. But when paid, they mostly got the question correct (which was “No” of course).

    So I think these kinds of polls may suffer from that kind of inaccuracy. I doubt very much that people are going to vote against their incumbents in those kind of numbers. People are probably answering that way to demonstrate their furry with congress, but I’ll be very surprised if we “throw all the bums out.”

  • Cowpoke

    They will replace one for sure.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Tom. The polls also don’t take into account what I think is by far the most common case in the voting booth — I hate the guy from my party but I really really really hate the guy in the other party.

    I’ve always said that voting should allow you to vote against a specific candidate instead of voting for one. It would be your choice of which way to go. If 5 million voted for candidate X, 10 million voted against him, 7 million voted for candidate Y, and 9 million voted against him, it would show the reality of the situation — I don’t support this guy so much as I despise him less than the other option.

  • Linda G

    In any case, the most extreme among our elected officials are also the most safe. –Linda

  • Odie

    Agreed. Approval ratings of Congress have been about 20% for the last years and still: I did a quick count after the last elections and more than half of incumbents that went up for reelection got in again. It is one thing to show outrage in a poll and another to not fall for the lies and deceptions at election time again and again.

  • http://pragcap Michael Schofield

    Yep. Also voters have a notoriously short memory and they tend to blame the other guy’s congressman. I saw an opinion wondering if our system of govt will prove to be workable for 300m+ people. I’m hoping for the best but what a mess.

  • godot10

    Most of the districts are gerrymandered to basically guarantee incumbency, on both extremists sides. It doesn’t matter what a general poll says. Incumbents will be overwhelmingly returned.

  • CybrWeez

    Agree w/general response here – incumbents won’t be voted out, and the idea of a 3rd party will peter out as well. Unless Congress does something to really mess things up. It has happened in past, and either a new party overtakes an existing one, or existing party changes so dramatically that it’s the same result. Maybe we’re headed there now.

  • Cowpoke

    This Shutdown Is G.Dubya Bush’s fault so everyone will be reelected. I have proof see the Interviews:

  • Anonymous

    Classic! That sums up the post.

  • William Bedloe

    Polls typically take the ‘current’ mood of the electorate, and the electorate . You rarely see carryover of that kind of emotion in elections that have mostly local implications. (You see it in national elections more so because the furor can be kept alive by the media, as was the case with Barack Obama). A few more promises (“free healthcare”, or “we will repeal Obamacare”) and some handshakes, and all is usually forgiven at the local level.

    Still, I am surprised by some of the pieces I have seen recently on your site Cullen. It’s easy to condemn Congress for not doing its job, or to ridicule citizens who have very little voice and who may indeed be misguided, but important battles are being fought here. Aside from the theatrics, there are real philosophical/ideological differences at the heart of this fight. As I understand it, the Republicans have been asking mainly for two things – delay of the individual mandate by one year and that Congress and their staff must also take part in Obamacare like average citizens. Obama will have none of it. I don’t want to hear the argument that this is established law and Republicans have to shut the hell up and respect it. That argument went out the door when Obama himself ignored the law with his own brand of exemptions, delays and missed dates. Given the trouble the rollout has experienced so far, I’m not so sure a delay wasn’t the best idea.

    Blame Congress all you want (it’s easy) but Obama deserves to be trashed here. Bush was savaged for being a poor leader (the cowboy way), but Obama is hardly a leader. He has been divisive, partisan, petty and childish. I grant that some of the attacks on him personally have been excessive, but Bush endured the same (and worse in many cases) and still he has managed to stay above the fray. Obama is thin skinned – and in Washington, that is not a good quality. It is also well known inside the beltway that Obama does not like to directly engage any of the players on either side, and relies on his handpicked staff. You cannot bring ideologically different parties together without solid leadership and deep involvement. Some pretty shocking things have happened under his watch – IRS bullying citizens (which no one talks about), kill lists, widespread snooping, intimidation of whistleblowers, corruption, cronyism. The difference is that he continues to thrive under the cover of a media that has chosen an ideological side. To me, these are the most dangerous threats to our society today. The Press is far from objective, and if they continue to carry water for Democrats, the partisan divide will increase as one entire segment of society continues to believe that their voices will simply not be heard.

    It’s easy to pile on Congress from both sides, but the fact of the matter is that this President has to shoulder the lion’s share of the blame, something he has never ever done. The press deserves its share of blame for poisoning the national dialogue. If the press was fair and balanced, there would be no need for right wing media outlets and their spin. The Rush Limbaughs of the world depend on a subjective media so that they can remain as a stark contrast – an outlet for those who feel they have no voice in the mainstream. Your entire site bills itself as a search for the truth without the partisanship to cloud arguments with bias. If only our press was the same. All our leaders would then be held to account, not just Republicans.

  • DismalEconomist

    Agree with the general sentiment regarding the ineptitude of Congress.

    There is an issue with the framing of the survey question that’s worth considering. The respondents in this survey are primed to think about the “general government shutdown and debt ceiling fight” before being asked the actual question “will you vote for the incumbent in your congressional district?”. Would we expect a different response without the negative priming effect?

  • roger ingalls

    Gotta love how the author immediately asks for money from the reader at the end of the post….

  • Geoff

    WTF is going on in the market today? Both bonds and stocks are up big. I guess the short-term nature of the deal means that nothing has truly been resolved. Thus, the Fed will continue to keep it’s hands off the Taper button.

    QE infinity.

    Party on, dudes.

  • Joe in Accounting

    I don’t agree that 435 reps in the House is sufficient to represent our population, especially with gerrymandering. I’m in NJ, my district stretches from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean with a major army/air force joint base in the middle. My current rep was born in Michigan and played professional football in Houston/Philadelphia/San Diego. In the last house prior to redistricting, my rep had been in office since the year I was born, 1981 31 years!. I feel more reps in the House would allow for more diverse political views and would allow for more cooperation ala the parliments in Europe. The Senate should stay the same, but with term limits. 6-12 years is quite enough time to be a senator. I would say no to term limits in the House if we had 2-3x the number of reps.

  • Nils

    I don’t care, there’s good money to be made ;)

  • Nils

    The thing that baffles me is that I only get one representative in all matters. Modern government is far too complex for one person to be competent in all areas. This is probably part of the reason why you don’t often see facts discussed in politics. They know how to get elected, beyond that they’re usually clueless.

  • Chris

    My take on it was that the S&P dropped to around 1650 (can’t remember exactly) on realization that they were going to run right up to the 11th hour in this debt ceiling thing, bounced back to about 1700 last week as the market realized the selloff was probably unwarranted since very few people really benefit from an actual default (or even going over the deadline), dropped yesterday realizing stocks had discounted any possibility of a default and there was still no workable plan, and were up high today on the announcement that they had worked out an agreement, and dropped a bit again when the agreement actually happened (sell-the-news etc.). Basically a cycle of mild overreactions, with the big rise today coming on news that a deal was almost certainly being reached.

    Admittedly its easy to make a narrative out of it in retrospect, but that’s basically how I traded it, and for me it worked quite well. I was expecting more of a sell-off after they announced a deal, though. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the market reacts badly in the coming days/weeks due to the lack of a longer term solution.

  • Cullen Roche

    Right back where we were before this fake crisis started. Now we can start focusing on things that actually matter. The last two weeks were basically a big waste of time for the markets.

  • Anonymous

    Boehner must GO! Long live Speaker Paul Ryan! Big question is……. does Boehner retire in 2014? The guy who must go before Boehner is McCain. McCain is the equivalent of Scott Livengood of Krispy Kreme……….. 2004’s worst CEO and the guy responsible for destroying the company.

  • John Mc

    I’m too old to believe that Cullen. I know how I will vote, but I’ll bet that come election time, we will see once again the overwhelming power of gerrymandered incumbency will garner a predictable outcome.

  • Nils

    At least we got some volatility for a change. I for one made good money. The political bickering is just the entertainment on top.

  • Cullen Roche

    Probably right. Here’s to wishful thinking (gulp).

  • Geoff

    “Now we can start focusing on things that actually matter”

    That would make sense if the solution were more long term. But we are going to be be right back here in a few months. The only reason I can figure why the markets are happy is that the continued bickering will keep the Fed from pulling the punch bowl.

  • Knives Nelson

    Agree w/ John Mc. Internet polls are not indicative of actual polling. I’m pretty sure my grandparents aren’t participating in any internet polls and they vote in real elections. My age group knows how to click a button on reddit but the poles we attend are all attached to dance floors and usually have a cover.