1. Why the Government Shutdown is Actually Really Good News
To pretty much no one’s surprise President Obama and Congress failed to work out a compromise budget on Monday, meaning we’re in the middle of the first government shutdown in 17 years. 800,000 government workers will head home without pay and the U.S. economy will lose $300 million every day the government stays closed, but it’s actually a good thing Obama and House Republicans are having their showdown over Obamacare now. Tea Party Republicans threatened to hold Obamacare hostage over funding the government or raising the debt ceiling, and a shutdown is the less damaging of the two options by far. The shutdown won’t have a major impact on the economy unless it stretches out for several weeks, while hitting the debt ceiling could permanently damage the U.S.’ financial reputation. Let’s hope our leaders learned their lessons from this round of failed negotiations and work out a deal before we hit the debt ceiling on Oct. 17.
• Here’s your complete guide to how a government shutdown works (WaPo).
• The surprising effects of a government shutdown you didn’t know about (Al Jazeera).
• Does it really matter who's to blame for the government shutdown? (PolicyMic)
2. Today is Obamacare’s Big Day
Ironically, the government shutdown over Obamacare isn’t going to keep the health care law from rolling out on time. Obamacare spending falls into the category of mandatory spending that continues during a shutdown, which means health care exchanges in all 50 states open at 8 a.m. today. The exchanges will let Americans who don’t get health insurance through their jobs or the government buy insurance for 2014; that’s when the $95 individual mandate tax kicks in for those who opt out. Let’s make one thing clear: Despite all the fuss over Obamacare, the law won’t actually affect most Americans; 80% are already covered. We won’t know for a while whether the exchanges are a success, but a lot depends on whether or not millennials buy in. Obama is hoping to sign up 2.7 million of the U.S.’ 17 million uninsured millennials to bring down rates for older Americans. You can check out the rates here to see if you think the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name.
• A doctor’s 9 predictions about the Obamacare era (NPR).
• Obamacare explained in 7 easy steps (PolicyMic).
3. Three New Albums That Will Make Your Tuesday
Let’s take a break from politics and health care for something a little more fun: This is a huge week for new music, and there are already three albums out that will give your Tuesday a lift. This week’s highest-profile release comes from Justin Timberlake. The second part of his 20/20 Experience is out today, but it’s not getting great reviews so far; he might have been better off hanging his hat on the massive success of “Mirrors.” If you’re looking for something more danceable, check out the sister group HAIM. They’ve been getting a lot of buzz for their covers of everything from Miley Cyrus to Fleetwood Mac. You can preview their album here. And our list wouldn’t be complete without the teen-prodigy Lorde. The 16-year-old from New Zealand has already scored a hit with her takedown of Top 40 excess, “Royals.” She’ll try to replicate that success with her debut album Pure Heroine.
• Why HAIM is the sister group you’ll be listening to all fall (PolicyMic).
• The Elvis impersonator, the karate instructor and the plot to kill the president (GQ).
• Get a look inside the elite London academy where students play videogames 12 hours a day (WSJ).
• Over one billion people have Facebook – see all their faces in one crazy graphic.
Thanks for reading!
What do you think about the topics in today’s Mic Check? How long do you think the government shutdown is going to last? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @nicholascbaker.
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