Can the Government Shutdown Really Be Stopped?


For the past few days, it seems that all any news outlet has been able to talk about is the government shutdown—and the impending doom if an agreement is not soon reached.

Although I think that congressmen have the responsibility to represent the desires of their constituents, when it gets to the point that nothing gets accomplished because both parties are sticking so strongly to their respective sides, it does more harm then good to the people of the U.S.

Right now, it’s important for Congress to compromise. It’s apparent that nothing is going to get done in the current state, and with each day that passes, our country is slipping into deeper trouble—for example, federal employees aren’t getting paid, national parks, the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell have been shut down, the Center for Disease Control and NASA are closed, and the FDA  has suspended food safety inspections. Plus, if the government shutdown lasts until October 17th (which is quite possible, considering the current stalemate), our treasury will reach the limit of its borrowing authority. It’s unknown what exactly would happen if this occurred, but it certainly would not be good. This past May, we reached our debt ceiling ($16.7 trillion), and have just barely been scraping by for the past few months. If our government still has not reached a decision by October 17th, the stock market could potentially plummet and it’s possible that we may not be able to pay back key foreign investors like China.

The moderate Republicans hold the key to forging an agreement here. In recent years, the gap between the more centrist members and the extreme right-wing members of the GOP has been widening, and I think this government shutdown is a wake up call for the Republican party. The party’s base has become increasingly rightist and in order to relate to younger generations and gain support of a larger majority of the country, they need to come together and re-adjust their core priorities towards something more moderate and refrain from making social conservatism one of their main focuses. Otherwise, they could steadily lose their influence in government.

Apparently, some of the House Republicans have said that they would be in favor of a ‘clean’ spending bill, a two month budget that would make no references to defunding the Obamacare law, buying the government more time to get their act together (although at this point, it doesn’t seem like any amount of time could help them sort out this issue, since both parties are resolute in their opinions).

Moreover, I think the Democratic party also needs to be willing to compromise. The root of this whole problem is the Affordable Care Act, and if a large enough majority of the country is against this bill that it can result in a government shutdown, then maybe this bill isn’t the best idea for our country. The reason our Founding Fathers divided the Congress into the House and the Senate was so that the latter would check the former (the House is supposed to represent the “will of the people”, while the Senate represents the states). In this case, the majority-Republican House is refusing to approve any funding of the government without the elimination or delay of Obamacare.

Obviously, this entire situation is very closely tied to what we just finished learning in class. The shutdown clearly demonstrates the power of checks and balances within the Congress, yet, unfortunately, these checks are preventing anything from actually getting done. While reading about the shutdown, I was also reminded of what James Madison wrote about political parties in “Federalist Paper #10”, saying that factions are unavoidable in a democracy, but can also be its downfall.

Even though I’ve only been in this class for a couple of weeks, I feel I’ve already gained a better understanding of how our country works. It’s fascinating that even though our country has been around for almost 250 years, the problems that our government faces today are almost identical to those that our Founding Fathers dealt with. Thanks to AP Gov, I already feel so more in touch with what’s going on in the news. We certainly chose a good year to learn about U.S. government—between the conflict in Syria and the government shutdown, we’ve been able to see a lot of the principles discussed in our textbook come into play outside the classroom!



  1. Grace:

    Great work here. I love the cartoon that you chose. Your reference to the Federalist Papers was spot on as well. It is hard for me to believe that this is your first blog posting. Clearly, you have researched this topic well and your visual evidence supports your ideas wonderfully. I am looking forward to reading your follow up analysis once the government is back up and running. I would love to share this with my AP GoPo class. Kudos on a job well done.

    Shauna Liverotti, Florida Virtual School, AP GoPo instructor


  2. Nicely written. You expressed your opinions here very well, and it’s clear that you are learning quite a bit in your AP Gov’t class. The current state of our democracy is scary.

    You wisely point out that many of the issues we face now have parallels in our past. George Washington even pointed out in his farewell address that political parties can be dangerous due to their tendency to seek power and revenge on political enemies.

    I fear that our society has become narrow sighted, selfish, and comfortable. Historically, societies that prosper often fall because of these shortcomings. Abundance and comfort rarely lead to a population willing to sacrifice, band together to solve problems, and to view problems from multiple perspectives.

    It’s not a coincidence that some of America’s greatest achievements came in the decades after the Great Depression. I hope that it doesn’t take pain and suffering for our American society to remember that which made it great.

    Thanks for posting. Keep up the good work!


  3. Shauna, thanks so much for the feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed my post!

    Mike, I definitely agree with you. I liked the point you made about abundance leading to a complacent and stubborn population. This is very true—right now, both parties seem to have ‘tunnel vision’ and are only thinking about their own interests. Although we tend to take it for granted that our country is one of the most powerful in the world, it’s not going to stay that way forever. It’s important that we learn to make decisions with our country as a whole in mind, and unfortunately, it looks as though the lives of Americans have to be negatively impacted in order for our government to learn this lesson.


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