There is a mathematical formula created by a professor at the University of Connecticut which appears to be predicting a huge social shift - and which may explain why we're in the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis.
Professor Peter Turchin has spent years developing a model that uses numbers to explain historical cycles - like the fall of the Roman Empire, the Rise of Communism.
He measures things like income inequality, the minimum wage, and health - which he measures by life expectancy and the average height of the population.
And the bottom line is - the wider the gap between rich and poor, the unhappier the general population is, and the closer people get to revolution.
We are, right now, climbing that inequality curve and all the signs are there: low taxes on the rich and low wages for workers.
And there's another warning sign: a rising number of wealthy, educated elites competing for a fixed number of high political offices. The stiffer the competition, the more ruthless they become.
Professor Turchin's formula predicts that the income gap finally reaches a breaking point where violence - or the threat of violence - finally brings the pitchforks to the gates of the upper classes and they get scared enough to raise their own taxes, embrace unions and redistribute wealth, which mollifies the masses.
Professor Peter Turchin is quick to say that this is not some prophecy. It's mathematics.
"You can't have two great divisions, economic and social divisions."
According to him, the numbers say that unless something changes to reduce inequality, the leading indicators show political instability in America will peak in the year 2020. Which tells me that Congress should reach agreement promptly at midnight, December 31, 2019.
Comment: See also:
Cliodynamics: Explaining and Predicting Human History