REFILE - CORRECTING TYPO National Park workers remove a barricade at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as it reopens to the public in Washington October 17, 2013. The White House moved quickly early on Thursday to get the U.S. government back up and running after a 16-day shutdown, directing hundreds of thousands of workers to return to work. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
Canned goods? A shotgun? If you're wondering how to prepare for the possibility of an economy-shaking default on Oct. 18, the White House can't help you — but market-moving news agency Bloomberg will be preparing for an earthquake. Literally.
In a message to staff, the respected global wire service advised that it will hold an earthquake preparedness drill on Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. ET in keeping with policy set by Bloomberg’s Risk Management Division.
“Risk has alerted the News BCP team that your office is scheduled to participate in the Bi-Coastal Shake Out to practice earthquake preparedness,” the email said.
“The test is scheduled to take place on 10/17 at 10:17 am. The test is only 30 seconds in length, and all staff are expected to participate. Staff will need to DROP to the ground, take COVER under a sturdy desk or table and HOLD on until the exercise is completed.”
Yahoo News obtained the email from a source inside the Bloomberg operation who noted the timing — awfully close to when the government runs out of legal authority to borrow money to pay its bills, risking a first-of-its-kind default that economists warn could shake the fragile recovery to its core.
The Treasury Department estimates that the federal government will hit the debt ceiling Oct. 17 — after which it will not be allowed to borrow funds necessary to pay its existing bills.
OK, so the Bloomberg email is not really a prescription for weathering the default. But it’s certainly more detailed than what Americans got from White House press secretary Jay Carney, whose advice boiled down to something like “be mad at your elected representatives.”
The spokesman had been asked: “Are there specific things that ordinary Americans should be doing to prepare for default? Should they be saving more money? Should they spend less? Should they delay a home renovation or delay a car?”
“You know, I would not be in a position to offer that kind of advice,” Carney said. “What I think every American would hope is that the people they send to Washington make wise choices about how they are stewards of our economy.”