Potential for US ‘catastrophe,’ Mort Zuckerman says

Updated

The inability for leaders to reach an agreement is similar to a man jumping off a 40-story building and saying: “Don’t worry. Nothing has happened yet,” as he passes the 12th floor, Mort Zuckerman said on Wednesday’s Morning Joe.

The eventual aftermath of the government shutdown, which entered its 16th day on Wednesday, could be “catastrophic,” said Zuckerman, the editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report.

“This is potentially a catastrophe for the United States,” he said. “This is all a symptom of huge deficits and huge debts in the country, and we have not found the political leadership either in the executive branch or in the Congress to deal with it.”

He added that the situation continues to be “absolutely devastating” both politically and economically because there will be a permanent loss of confidence from both the public and world in the American government and its leaders.

As ratings for both political parties and President Obama continue to drop, the House on Tuesday night failed to pass a plan to extend the debt limit and consequently end the closure.

Congress could soon move toward a deal, but if it doesn’t happen there isn’t another round of recriminations, which makes it more difficult in the interim, David Axelrod, former political adviser for the Obama administration, said on the show.

“I hope that people don’t go and start licking their wounds and saying: ‘Well we’re going to get our pound of flesh in the next round,’ and then we’re right back where we were,” he said.

The agreement will be reached when the Senate sends their bill and House members are forced to pass it, he said.

“I can’t give my money to a party that’s willing to play Russian roulette with our economy,” host Joe Scarborough added.

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Potential for US 'catastrophe,' Mort Zuckerman says

Updated