As the Washington budget and debt limit stare-down contest rolls on toward Oct. 17 and President Obama disingenuously and dishonestly predicts Armageddon, the worst possible outcome has received zero press.
How economically important is approving a budget? Not very. Yes, hundreds of thousands of people are seriously inconvenienced, but in the long run the shutdown will have minimal overall economic impact. Government economic activity is largely transfer payments -- the Robin Hood gig. GDP is temporarily affected, but federal employees will all get back pay eventually.
How economically important is avoiding a default on the national debt? Not very. It's unlikely to happen; if it happens it will be short; and after the dust settles, where will China and Japan invest their money if not here? Greece? How 'bout Argentina?
The worst possible outcome will be if Sen. Ted Cruz emerges as the white knight of the Republican Party. The senator is an empty-headed glory hound. If you remember Sen. Joe McCarthy, Cruz is likewise worse than shallow and self-absorbed. He's dangerous. He even looks like McCarthy.
The Cruz gambit -- holding Obamacare hostage to a budget agreement -- has less chance of success than the return of the Pony Express. He would be going down in flames now but debt limit politics may force Obama into concessions and deify Cruz. Help us, oh Lord. After Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and the queen of vacuity Sarah Palin, deliver us from this chorus line of clowns.