I think we should expect a government shutdown. When you read the stances of the different leaders, and believe me I use the term loosely, it seems unlikely there will be any common ground found soon. One case is particular I will bring up is Harry Reid. As I look at the situation he faces I see little reason for him to soften his stance from a game theoretic perspective.
There are not many pictures that represent a truly positive outlook for the economy, which is to be expected coming out of a major crisis event like we saw in the U.S. and much of the world. However, if we believe that adjustments were necessary to fix what was wrong, then here is a hopeful picture.
The Fed has been wrong about growth lately in their forecasts, and wrong in a very bad way. The Fed forecasts have not yet taken into account fundamental changes in individual behavior. It would not be a surprise that such forecasts were wrong during or in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, but to still be so wrong at this point is worrisome. What is the problem? People are scared.