We've heard all sort of opinions on what will or won't happen if we default (without defining exactly what sort of default is involved).
We've heard all about food stamps, war veterans, and memorials.
We've heard about opinion polls and election predictions.
We've heard just about every irrelevant opinion under the sky, but we haven't heard a peep from the one group who's opinion matters most - the markets.
And it's quite clear that the markets - stocks and bonds - think this entire government shutdown and default scare is all kabuki theater and doesn't deserve the time of day.
Obviously the stock market isn't the least bit concerned about a possible default.
The Treasury market (i.e. the thing that everyone warns about defaulting on), has declined somewhat, but not enough to indicate the slightest concern.
It's quite amusing to hear the daily prophets of doom from Washington, only to see the stock market casually marching higher.
The Obama White House is just one of those to be caught off-guard by the market's mild temperament.
The Wall Street Journal was downright giddy about the government shutdown.
In fact, things are so optimistic on Wall Street that you have to wonder what illegal drugs the traders might be taking now.
It's not like company earning reports are something to be excited about.
* a potential government default of any kind
* the government shutdown that will cost the economy about 0.5% of GDP even without a default
* a slowing global economy
* slowing corporate profits
* slowing consumer spending
* a modest rise in interest rates
So even if the government default threats are nothing more than political kabuki, the stock market has decided that none of these real, measurable factors mean anything. Or may even be a good thing, according to the WSJ.
With a stock market near all-time highs and five years into an exceptionally long bull market, that doesn't seem very wise.
One thing is for certain, as long as the markets decide not to send a message to Washington by doing some selling, the less pressure there is on the politicians to come to an agreement, and thus a greater risk for a bad outcome to take place.