Would a Government Shutdown Be Good News for America?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 28 2013 8:31 PM

Would a Government Shutdown Be Good News for America?

182010251
The Dome of the Capitol Building is seen through a skylight window from the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

While most are hoping the government shutdown as of Monday night can be avoided, convinced the sides will end up coming together to avoid a calamity, some seem to believe a shutdown now could ultimately be good news for the country. Why? Well, as the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein describes it, a government shutdown now makes it increasingly unlikely there will be a debt default. In other words, if you had to choose a debt default or a government shutdown, go with a government shutdown.

“A shutdown, after all, is just bad for the economy. A default is catastrophic for it,” explains Klein.

Advertisement

Some analysts believed that if a shutdown were avoided it would be because congressional Republicans decided to wait to push for their demands during the debt limit debate. But a shutdown effectively pushes a debt limit showdown off the table for two basic reasons. First, Republicans are highly unlikely to want to be seen pushing for default mere weeks after the shutdown. And second, many influential players outside of Washington—business leaders, Wall Street types and the like—had long assumed this was all political posturing and the Democrats and Republicans would come together to avoid something everyone knows is bad for the country. “A shutdown will prove that comforting notion wrong,” writes Klein, “and those groups will begin exerting real political pressure to force a resolution before a default happens.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.