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Why Did the US Government Shut Down? Experts Weigh In

We reached out to experts across the nation to get their thoughts on why the recent government shutdown happened. Although a deal has been reached and the government is now back up and running, we also asked them what could be done to start the government back up in the event of a shutdown. This is still important to consider in case the government is shut down again (which could happen). We hope you find these insights as interesting and enlightening as we did. Feel free to share your thoughts on the shutdown in the comments below the article.


It started because the American public was fed up with the tax and spend, vote buying politicians and voted in the Tea Party candidates in the hope that they would put an end the endless cycle of government expansion. And amazingly, unlike the politicians whom we have been tolerating for so long, the Tea Party people actually are doing what the voters put them in to do.

Frankly, a shutdown may finally reveal to the public the massive government waste, fraud and vote buying in so many programs. It may also force a realistic slowdown to government growth and in a perfect world a rollback of the myriad of government boondoggles.

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In any real world with our being 17 Trillion dollars in debt and printing worthless money by the billions daily, our money would already be considered worthless. It is a testament to the financial insanity we have come to accept in our Alice in Wonderland society that our economy did not collapse years ago.

Hopefully, the media will stop its outrageous, blind and insultingly one sided propaganda campaign backing this socialist oriented administration and reveal the waste, fraud, political payoffs, etc. that have gotten us in this financial mess.

Every financial mess that we have been in for the past 40 years is the result of political payoffs to the poor, the wealthy, and anyone in between willing to sell their souls for a government handout.

The question is what came first–vote buying politicians dishing out socialist programs or the decline of the American character to the point of our not taking any personal responsibility and our becoming immoral to an embarrassing degree?

Is it worse that the public has become irresponsible and immoral or that our vote buying politicians play on those weaknesses to stay in power?

This current fight is not Democrat against Republican or Republican against Republican, but rather whether we are ready to become another failed socialist state or return to honest capitalism practiced by people willing to be responsible for their actions.

The current administration bases its policies on its Marxist ideology. Unfortunately, too many of our politicians are willing to let this country become a welfare state as long they stay in power. Thank heavens that the Tea Party is standing up for the will of the people.

And by the way, do not buy this nonsense that Pres. Obama was re-elected  because of the public backing Obamacare.

Mr. Obama was re-elected for the same reasons that he was first elected–he was half Black, the media refused to go into his questionable past and the Republicans had the worst candidates possible.

Now, the public is finally realizing the mess that is Obamacare and getting glimpses of the anti-business tilt of this administration.

Let us hope that the shutdown does not end with the usual kicking the can down the road. But rather we finally face the reality of our failed entitlements that have been perpetrated despite fraud, waste and their negative effects on the family and society in general.

Pablo Solomon

Pablo Solomon is an internationally recognized artist and award winning Green designer. He has also been recognized in numerous publications for his financial savvy. Pablo has been featured in 28 books, most of the major magazines and newspapers, on TV, radio and even in film.
www.pablosolomon.com


As a presidential candidate, I’ve suggested sending the main perpetrators out to bring me a stick and using a crowbar to pry incumbents out of their seats among other assorted methods. However in this instance, the wisest choice would be to lock the main hooligans from Congress and the President in a room and not letting anyone out until they come to an agreement. I figure they’ll do it before hunger and the need for a bathroom arrives.

Neven Gibbs
Writer, Entertainer


I’m no expert, but I do have an opinion few others are likely to have.

A few republicans have finally become STATESMEN instead of POLITICIANS who care enough about the country and its future to risk their careers.

There are many quotes from our founding fathers, but I think this observation attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville sort of says it all:

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

Or this one:

“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

Ilene Davis, CFP(R), MBA
Libertarian


Here is a take on how the government shutdown affected business:

“Private companies who do direct business with the government will be significantly impacted. Those companies are going to get hurt the most as this drags out longer. For example, if a company has a contract with the federal government and doesn’t get paid for a month, the government, being that company’s biggest customer, means that company can’t make payroll. This will lead to employees quitting. This would be considered frictional unemployment — voluntary unemployment supposedly to create better circumstances for oneself. But that’s not actually what occurred. So the unemployment number goes up but no one is all that concerned because the increase is under the category of ‘Frictional Unemployment.’ Yet, more companies are in the red and now are losing resources to recover because of the government shutdown.”

Joel Freimuth

President

Blue Pearl Consulting


The reason for the Government Shutdown goes deeper than the conflict between Democrats and Republicans. The core reason for the Shutdown goes to the failure of our electoral process to provide a true will of the majority.

Larry R. Bradley

Voter Advocate

Producer of Why the Two Party System Isn’t Working Anymore


I am a lawyer with a master’s degree in peacemaking and conflict studies. I mediate, teach, speak, and write on conflicts of all types, negotiation, leadership, and decision making. The political impasse in DC shows all of the classic signs of an ideologically-driven conflict. The principals are primitive negotiators with limited skills in working with an opposition holding fundamentally different beliefs. For the time being, the administration is correct in refusing to negotiate or compromise on ACA. However, it could (and might be) working back channels to keep communications open. Speaker Boehner is unable to control the Tea Party members of his majority and has therefore ceded power to them. They now, essentially, control the fate of the government. This impasse is not surprising and has its roots in the Reagan administration back to the 1980s.

The probable outcome is a crisis, some kind of short term resolution, and an interesting mid-term election in 2014. A resolution based on a principled negotiation is not likely because the ideologues view negotiation as capitulation of fundamental beliefs. Those beliefs are strongly attached to identity-formation and thus very difficult to shift. Only the most highly skilled negotiators can effectively deal with these types of problems. Sadly, that level of skill is not existent in our current political leadership.

Douglas E. Noll

Noll Associates


The shutdown was the result of a failure by Congress and President to recognize the limits of their policies and spending priorities. The President refused to negotiate over a delay in his signature health care bill, and Republicans incorrectly assumed they would be able to succeed in a delay of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in exchange for funding the government’s budget and an increase in the debt ceiling. This stalemate in policy and spending priorities, and Tea Party Republicans’ understanding of the limits of the public desire to defund the ACA, led to the shutdown of the federal government for a 16 day time period.  The short and long-term damage to the economy was substantial, and has driven the favorability of Republicans in Congress, and to a lesser extent the President, to historical lows.

In response to a short-term agreement to fund the government until January 15 and an increase the debt limit until February 7, House and Senate Budget Conferees have until a December 13 deadline to merge two competing funding bills and fund the government for the remainder of FY 2014. While most people do not believe the 29 member panel will produce what has been called a “Grand Bargain,” most people expect, and hope to see, incremental changes to tax and spending priorities that would avoid another government shutdown, and perhaps set the stage for a long-term agreement on the deficit and long-term liabilities.

Absent an agreement by the December 13 deadline, there will be an increasing concern in Washington and across the nation that we will see a replay of the recent shutdown events. Most people in Washington have taken to the view that everyone has learned their lesson, but that remains to be seen.

Peter D. Dugas

Director, Government Affairs

Clark Hill PLC


Congress used to operate on a system – Authorize for the year, budget for the year, appropriate for the year, and occasionally raise the debt ceiling. Let’s compare and contrast the old and the present:

Propose a recurring bill, say, Justice Department or Health and Human Services authorization for the next year. It would have been here that the fight over delaying Obamacare would have taken place in the HHS authorization, without any risk of a shutdown. However, other than DoD authorization I don’t think this happens any longer. When was the last time there was an Authorization bill for the Department of Justice? I don’t even remember one, and I can bet you there weren’t two years in a row where they had them in my adult life. So, system breakdown #1.

The law requires a budget be passed for each year. This is where an Obamacare defunding battle could have happened in 2011, 2012, etc. However, the four years of 2009-2012 saw no budget passed in the Senate (one of those years the President’s budget proposal was defeated 99-0, i.e., even by his party). Another system breakdown, and another opportunity to have a battle that would not touch a shutdown. System breakdown #2.

13 Appropriations Bills funding departments, etc., were passed individually. Commerce, State, and Justice would be in one bill and military construction in another, etc. This would have been where a defunding of Obamacare battle could have taken place. Occasionally, the Congress would have an “omnibus” bill with 2 or more of those appropriations bills combined, usually because the deadline was approaching. When they would miss the deadline, Congress would often pass a “Continuing Resolution” to fund the government for a week or ten days or whatever until those appropriations bills could be passed. Over time, Congress found it easier to ignore procedure and checks in the system by operating on an omnibus system then to actually legislate. In the beginning many battles were not even waged because there was a desire to avoid shutting down the government over this issue or that issue. However, without the budget process or authorization process working properly, there is increased attention on appropriations since authorization and budget decisions are skipped. In fact, they now miss the deadline and do an omnibus, so they will do a “CR” for months until the omnibus can pass. The omnibus can be so hard to pass now because it’s an authorization, budget, and apropos bill with everyone fighting at once as opposed to compromise and agreement during the course of the year. So now when someone wants to push for this or that issue, it now risks a shutdown.  System breakdown #3.

Debt ceiling – Typically was raised, often with additional legislation, back in the days were annual deficits were $100 billion or $250 billion a year (deficits…they were so cute back then). Not many showdowns over the debt ceiling since members could fight in the authorization process, budget process, or as a last ditch effort in the appropriations process. However, now the debt ceiling is literally the option of last resort to control spending, since it isn’t being done in the authorization process, the budget process, or the appropriations process. If the process was working, there would never be a crisis.

In the 2nd Clinton term and in the Bush years when someone in Congress was all up in arms over something they typically were dealt with early with some kind of compromise. I think Bush is the only recent president who didn’t have a shutdown or two, largely because Bush was not willing to veto anything (President Obama is) and they nipped problems in the bud early. That is not happening now. So now you have an unhealthy system, on top of the authorization, budget, and appropriations process being abused or abandoned altogether.

Imagine that your neighbor is very bothersome. He runs over your mailbox, plays loud music all night, steals Amazon deliveries off your porch, etc. You ask him to knock it off, he refuses, so you go to the police and the courts. Imagine they told you had no recourse since they are no longer enforcing laws against theft, property destruction, etc. Next time your neighbor parks on your lawn you knock out two of his teeth, because, well, the democratic and civil options have been removed. This is why we had a shutdown – the legislative process is so broken that the only option left is to start throwing punches in the form of shutdown (or debt ceiling raise refusals).

Michael James Barton

Michael is the current Director of Energy and Natural Resources at ARTIS Research. He has extensive experience in National Security, Homeland Security, counterterrorism, and energy policymaking and is the former Senior Policy Advisor at a publicly traded Silicon Valley energy company.

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