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The Shutdown and the Debt Ceiling

Written by Featured Organization on 15 October 2013.

“We are rolling toward the first sovereign debt default in history by a solvent nation.  The shutdown is a frustration and an annoyance, like a room full of mosquitoes.  The debt default is like a hurricane on steroids, or as Warren Buffet put it, a financial nuclear weapon,” says Leon LaBrecque, JD, CPA, CFP, CFA, the Chief Strategist and founder of LJPR, a firm managing $547 million in assets*. “A default on the debt would significantly impact the dollar, pensions, the markets and the global economy.  Not to mention the fact that we (the U.S.) would look pretty foolish.  We are the most powerful nation in the world, and we cannot get our house in order.”


“I liken this to two bickering spouses,” says LaBrecque. “One wants the garage cleaned.  The other offers to take out the trash.  The garage cleaning spouse gets mad and demands that the garage gets cleaned.  The other spouse insists they will take out the trash and then talk about cleaning the garage.  One then threatens to burn the house down unless the garage is cleaned. The other one says they will only take the trash out and talk later, or go ahead and burn the house down.  Now the kids are scared as well as the neighbors.  Everyone else thinks the couple is crazy. “

“How do you fix it?  Well, maybe one gives in.  Maybe two of the sisters-in-law get together and share a bottle of wine and then go talk to their respective siblings (like maybe the budget chairs getting together in a back room and creating a deal),” says LaBrecque. 

“Democrats tend to lean left and Republicans tend to lean right.  If they’re playing chicken, this could be a really bad thing, even if they both swerve,” says LaBrecque. “That being said, to whatever extent the current situation is labeled as ‘this time it’s different’, we have been here before and every other time we managed to come to a resolution.  While past performance is not a guarantee of future results, we are betting that after the drama plays out in the media and in Washington D.C. that the U.S. will not go down in history as a deadbeat nation.”

“Let’s hope this madness stops without the crash, and that we open up the national parks again,” says LaBrecque. “By the way, I thought the shutdown furloughed non-essential personnel.  If that’s the case, why are the elected officials still getting paid?”

About Leon LaBrecque: Leon C. LaBrecque is the managing partner and founder of LJPR, LLC, an independent wealth management firm located in Troy, Michigan that manages $547 million in assets (as of 8/31/2013). Leon is a practicing attorney, CPA, CFP® and CFA that has specialized in servicing individuals, families, and small businesses in the areas of financial, estate, and tax planning for over 32 years. LaBrecque’s extensive career includes previous work at Arthur Andersen, Plante Moran, and as the Department Chair of Finance and Economics at Walsh College where he created the Master of Science in Finance program. He has also authored several proprietary retirement planning programs for CalPERS, the states of Montana, and Washington, and corporate clients including General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Lucent, and AT&T, among others. LaBrecque’s specialties include investment management for foundations and non-profit organizations, financial planning for automotive employees and retirees, and retirement planning for police officers and firefighters. Leon LaBrecque’s direct e-mail is For an interview with Leon, call Josephine at 734.385.6170. *As of August 31, 2013.