Commitment and obstinacy

The US oil and gas industry has extra reason to regret the politically motivated shutdown of the federal government. It soon might face a financial avalanche. The impasse Congress reached on Sept. 30, which remained in effect at this writing, related to the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare. But an even more perilous showdown looms. Unless Congress raises the limit on Treasury Department borrowing from the public, the government, according to Treasury estimates, will become unable to meet some cash obligations about Oct. 17. The temptation will be strong to treat the debt-ceiling problem merely as an adjustment Congress should take to keep the government in business. The public tired quickly ...

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