Who’s Afraid of a Government Shutdown?

Costanza Fire Painting

People aren’t freaking out? Should people be freaking out? I think people should be freaking out? Ok, why isn’t anyone not freaking out?! Why am I the only one feeling like George Costanza in an apartment fire?



In two days (December 16th) the US government will run out of money. With Congress having already passed a five-day extension – the original day for the government shutdown was December 11th – and with a spending deal not necessarily making much headway, why aren’t we seeing more headlines about gloom or doom? Well there are a multitude of reasons.



  • We’ve Been Through This Before: It’s like the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Or in this case, The Government That Cried Government Shutdown. While yes, it is a big deal that we’re in the heart of December with only two days away before the government runs out of money. But then again… we’ve been through all of this before. In most of these instances Congress passes legislation in the 23rd hour and evades a government shutdown. The sad truth is, the public has now become so exhausted with Congress bickering about the budget every year, that something that would have been inconceivable – a government shutdown – ten years ago, has not become common place.


  • 2016 is an Election Year: The last time the government did actually shutdown due to Congress not coming up with a budget was in 2013. And based on the poll numbers, the shutdown hurt Republicans pretty bad. It’s hard to see Republicans making the same gamble with critical congressional seats and the presidency up for grabs in 2016.


  • Everyone Believes in Paul Ryan: Even though he hasn’t been Speaker of the House for that long, people seem to trust Rep. Paul Ryan and his ability to gin up votes for a spending bill. Even as we’re writing this, there are reports that both sides are close to a deal that could be agreed upon by as early as tonight. Speaker Ryan has been remarkably effective during these budget talks. While he has realized that talking to Democrats during negotiation process is a necessary evil (he has reached out to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi), it’s interesting to see those on the far-right at least being receptive to negotiations with Democrats. Whether it’s because Rep. Ryan is still in his “honeymoon period” as Speaker or the impression that he is including far-right Republicans into the process, most DC observers feel that a budget deal is around the corner and it might be because of Paul Ryan.



(Photo Credits: Google Images)


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