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Shutdown in the U.S.: The paralyzed States of America

How does it feel to be forced to leave? In Washington to meet victims of the shutdown, discuss their position – and table tennis. U.S. President Obama is attacking the Tea Party. And the Republicans fail with new proposals.

Back and forth. John Boehner makes ping pong makes Harry Reid, John Boehner ping pong Harry Reid. Back and forth the little flying ball And it laugh out loud the two players at the table tennis, their bats bearing the faces of the top Republican Boehner and the top Democrat Reid. Ping pong. On the sofa already the next policy to a game of table tennis wait in the Jewish community center in Washington, just around the corner from the U.S. Congress.

It’s early afternoon, and they really should not be here. They are young and aspiring who have just started their careers in the ministries and authorities.Usually they sit late into the night in their offices.Normally.

Grand Canyon – Yosemite – Everything tight.

But since Tuesday morning, one minute after midnight, everything is different.America’s government is at a standstill: Government shutdown because Congress could not agree . Over hours, the House and Senate, Boehner and Reid, the budget proposals were pushed back and forth.Political ping-pong up.Without agreement. And so far even without winning.

Now the museums are closed, shut down the Twitter account of the Parliament, does not occupy the passport offices and more than 50 U.S. national parks close : No chance to Grand Canyon, Yosemite Park or the Statue of Liberty.Tourists who are already in, have two days to leave the park. Before the monuments in the capital are the visitors. And shake their heads. Even the toilets are locked.

That sounds ulkiger than it is. About 800,000 state employees have been sent to forced leave, even in the supposedly capitalist U.S. government is the largest employer.

Natalie Rosenfelt normally works in the Ministry of Justice, but now looks to the ping-pong game. Because the community center has agreed to “Shutdown center” to bring together those concerned. The political series “West Wing” is shown on the big screen – of course that result from the fifth season, in which it comes to the government shutdown – and the food is on the house. “It’s a strange feeling,” says Rosenfelt, “you’re insecure because you do not work, and you do not know if you’ll get paid later.” You just hope that the shutdown would last not so long. The last time, in the mid nineties, it was then but 21 days.

Most people here do not want to see their name published in the media.Because they are disappointed in their state: “We think we’re the greatest country in the world,” says one, “and then something like that.”Presently all was still somehow amusing, they say – you have a few days off, makes jokes at the expense of either Republicans or the president, and the capital serves a fast-food chain to state officials on presentation of free burgers. But what if the number goes on for weeks? How are they supposed to pay their bills, their rent? People are afraid. Experts have calculated that a three-to four-week shutdown would cost the U.S. economy about $ 55 billion – equivalent to about the annual editions of the Free State of Bavaria.

Most severely hit are the capital: It is under federal jurisdiction, live here, most state employees. Alone in the Washington metropolitan area, the losses could amount to 200 million dollars per day, citing the “Washington Post” an economic expert. And snappy put the newspaper notes: “The capital of the free world – closed until further notice.”Outside, in front of Congress to protest a few federal officials on Tuesday, their message to MPs: “Do your job, so we can do ours.”

ideological crusade “

In the morning they would get mail that is now closing, telling two colleagues. They had not yet received the instruction to change their answering machine saying, since they may not touch their phone service.Who is to blame? Congress, they say. And if you nachhakt: Well, the Republicans.

This is consistent with the opinion polls. 72 percent of Americans oppose, according to a Quinnipiac survey, the strategy of the Conservatives, the continued funding of the government to end the health care reform of the U.S. president (“Obamacare”) to socialize. And 57 percent are not satisfied with the work of the Republicans in Congress.

Barack Obama tried his hand on Tuesday to beat that score. A group within the Republican Party – he played on the radical Tea Party movement – waging a “ideological crusade” against the reform and therefore have paralyzed the government. But he would not negotiate on Obamacare, reform would “continue to exist”. The government shutdown, the President called now the “republican shutdown.” Obama continues to attack , already for next Thursday’s speech is scheduled in this matter.

And the Republicans? They struggled on Tuesday to show activity. The reasoning behind this: Now, if they are held responsible for the shutdown, then they should not give the impression of inaction and indifference, at least. Although the party leadership still prevents the radical Tea Party minority in their ranks, but tried on Tuesday evening in the House of Representatives to adopt specific measures for the improvement of their image. Such as the national parks should be excluded from the government shutdown and ensure timely payments to the military veterans. There would have a two-thirds majority, which needed the votes of Democrats. The refused.And Obama could announce such a “piece-by-piece approach” was not serious.

The longer now, the government is paralyzed, the more complicated the situation. As early as 17 October ends the next period. And that is far more threatening: Deny the Republicans in Parliament, the United States could not accept any more debt more.Making it the largest economy in the world would be insolvent.

A nightmare scenario, not only for America.

"For projects not requested more money is there"

Herbert Bodner, Chef von Bilfinger Berger und Präsident des Hauptverbandes der Deutschen Bauindustrie. Quelle: dpa

Herbert Bodner, CEO of Bilfinger Berger and President of the Federation of the German construction industry. Source: AP

Mr. Bodner, save Ramsauer Transport has probably until 2013, over one billion euros. Do you pity him?

I feel less sympathy than solidarity. The Minister has made it plain that he considers savings not possible. He fights for his budget. Since I’m with him. We need to make investments that are urgently needed. If we cancel now investment, we will see more damage to roads and bridges. This may not be. Investments need a shelter.

Have not been registered too many wish projects that nobody really needs, so that now lacks money for important conservation?

Looking back does not help. But in fact, priorities are needed. We need to invest strictly renew as needed. Requirements is: where bottlenecks prevail or maintenance have dammed up, to be invested. Request for projects no more money is there.

Look no savings?

There are certainly efficiency reserves. We are locked into a system that make the management, planning and approvals for a large chunk of costs. There is potential. The target may not be to save resources that need to free up resources to be put into investments.

As says the head of a construction company. But save the Treasury does not want to redeploy.

When we debate every year in savings on money and haggling more or have less money, then projects can not go ahead continuously. Also this up and down takes a lot of money. It would be best, therefore, to decouple the financing of the motorway network by the household.

That means in plain language, the truck toll in future flows directly into the street. The dream dream of Transport since 2003. become true, he still is not.

In fact, the truck toll was not in addition to the resources invested in the streets. It will be charged again and again and yet at the same time flows into the rail and into the waterways. This has destroyed a lot of confidence.

How is trust?

The money would flow into the transport infrastructure financing company, as was originally planned. In addition, the company must offer limited record debt to finance gaps in balance. So we balance out the ups and downs. That would be trust.

Then introduce car toll?

It would be useful to introduce a vignette. A system like the truck is safe in the short term is not technically feasible, and above all too expensive. The sticker would introduce cost-effective. Whether you are surrounded later on a distance-based road user charge, it has decided not now.

Then the driver of the car tax and fuel tax will be cashed for the third time?

The sticker can not be a new fee, which, like the fuel tax in the general budget does not flow but is invested. If motorists pay to know the money is flowing into the street and foreign users also will increase the acceptance. Moreover, it must of course be a relief elsewhere, such as the vehicle tax or fuel tax.

The Chancellor has the less excluded categorically.

Unfortunately, these issues are taboo, because it hot iron. The people were ready but – if there is a discharge and the money really flows in the street.

The Minister of Finance thinks nothing.

Even the Minister of Finance must consider how he wants to keep the future in our infrastructure in good shape. The pressure on the budget increases. The alternative is even more congestion and dilapidated bridges.

"We need more than the 750-billion-euro package

IfW-Präsident Snower: "Jedes europäische Land braucht eine Schuldenkommission". Quelle: dpa

President Snower Kiel Institute: "Any European country needs a Debt Commission. Source: AP

HB KIEL. The 750-billion-euro package to rescue the single currency is sufficient in the opinion of the marketing researcher Dennis Snower far from sufficient to achieve the desired objective. "This is a part, but we need much more," said the President of the Kiel Institute for World Economics (Kiel Institute), the news agency dpa. "If we do just that and nothing else, the countries are under less pressure to bring its budget in order. Before Greece knew not sure if it gets help. "Now that European countries know that it weakens the incentive to restrain their debts." Each country needs a Debt Commission, which monitors the specific debt reduction.

The government would decide to be achieved in what period of their long-term debt ratio, said Snower. "It would have less than 60 percent of gross domestic product are to be in line with the European Stability and Growth Pact be." The government would also determine how to be counter-cyclical fiscal policy. The Commission – they should be in every country of about ten economists – would have the task of measuring the economic cycle and to determine at what stage the country. Then they would determine the government deficit or excess in order to achieve the objective of the government.

"So would you ensure that there is no debt problems in the future, the financial markets would calm down, interest rates are falling – we could have real progress," said Snower.

The rescue was only helpful when others arrive, the debt commissions. "Otherwise, would give rise to new dangers."

The objective of financial control by Germany could be useful from the perspective Snowe. "You must of course be introduced internationally, otherwise the business migrates to where there is no tax. Perhaps not all countries need to be there but would have the key to the financial markets of the world take part. "

The revenue could be any kind incurred insurance, supports the unstable company, said Snower. Therefore, the Fund must be very large, probably in the hundreds of billions. Since its construction would take a long time, short term the state must remain heavily involved, though he was weakened. Insurance alone solve the problem but not.

"Financial institutions need the right incentives to avoid systemic risk." So, the banks create debt, can be converted automatically into shares if a financial institution of insolvency systemically falters. "The risk of insolvency would do, because there would be instead of the debt stock. This option is known so well to the creditors, "said Snower. While the shareholders would have to pay higher interest rates, but for them there would be the incentive that such institutions would avoid excessive risks. "If they produced large systemic risk, the risk premium would rise to the debt and the shares fall." This model could help to tackle the economic crisis, said Snower. "If you still have additional help with the financial market fund as a tax shield, that would be great."

"American revival is not without support"

The revival of the U.S. economy is far from autonomous. That the President of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, said today.

Although there is progress in the economy, yet, according to Bernanke still a long way to go before the recovery is autonomous and no longer be supported by the government. The labor market also remains weak, Bernanke has said. (afp / adv)