Government Shutdown



  • I'm not talking about the politics that cause this to happen. I'm talking about it being the default option. Every other country in the world sees this as somewhere between baffling and absurd! I mean, Belgium didn't have a government for months a couple of years ago, but instead of shutting down everything ticked over smoothly until they did have one again.



    Why is your government so weird?



  • It happened in Australia, once. The Governor General (officially the Queen's Representative) stepped in, sacked the entire government and called an election. Caused a huge controversy, but one thing it did do was fix the problem. Oh, and give us a memorable bit of footage from a the disgruntled politician who had been sacked. "Well may we say 'God Save the Queen'. Because NOTHING will save the Governor General." Well, he lost the election, and Kerr finished his term, even though he wasn't all that good at his job, and gave the press too many pictures of him under the weather in public!



  • @robbak said:

    It happened in Australia, once.
     

    That's not government shutdown. Congress/senate is not going to get sacked, it's "just" all govermnent activities that are suspended. So people aren't getting paid (except politicians) and programs aren't running. It's quite nutty that such a thing can happen.



  • Moreover, why is the NSA exempt? They've been unable to find the one nefarious guy with a pressure cooker in time, so no harm done if they go home for a while.



  •  Every day,  I check NASA's picture of the day: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

    But now it's just not responding at all. Instead of just leaving the same page up for several days while they quibble over nonsense, no, they actually went out of their way to shut the site down. They're actually spending money to prevent spending money...



  • @pbean said:

     Every day,  I check NASA's picture of the day: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

    But now it's just not responding at all. Instead of just leaving the same page up for several days while they quibble over nonsense, no, they actually went out of their way to shut the site down. They're actually spending money to prevent spending money...

    Switching a server off doesn't really count as spending money.



  • @eViLegion said:

    Belgium didn't have a government for months a couple of years ago

    They had a government, just not a cabinet/administration*. In the US they have a cabinet, but now mostly no government.

    I don't know what the result would be in the US if this happens (having no cabinet), but this is a fundamental difference: in the US the cabinet actively shut down the government.

    I might be imprice on terms here: with cabinet I mean the ruling organs of the government, in this case th eUS congress



  • @eViLegion said:

    .. I'm talking about it being the default option. Every other country in the world sees this as somewhere between baffling and absurd!.. but instead of shutting down everything ticked over smoothly until they did have one again.

    Why is your government so weird?

     

    If you have a business, and the business does not have any funds (for example to make payroll, to pay the utilities)....what else would you do? 

    What is often "baffling" is why some services are deemed critical. There are the obvious ones that must keep running, but there are a whole slew of elements where a shutdown would not (in any obvious way) cause immediate harm to national security or the general population...yet they are authorized to keep running...


  • Fake News

    @dhromed said:

    So people aren't getting paid (except politicians) and programs aren't running. It's quite nutty that such a thing can happen.

    Actually "essential" programs are still running, and while people (government employees) aren't getting paid right now, more of them are working than not; they'll get back pay after the shutdown. Social Security and Medicare (which together consume a little less than half of the federal budget normally) are still running, albeit with less capacity.

    Maybe everything except for national security should stop running during these shutdowns. It'd be horrible in the long term, with an entire nation's citizens being punished for the failures of their representatives. But in the long term, maybe it'd result in mass recalls, so that'd be a plus.



  • @dhromed said:

    @robbak said:

    It happened in Australia, once.
     

    That's not government shutdown. Congress/senate is not going to get sacked, it's "just" all govermnent activities that are suspended. So people aren't getting paid (except politicians) and programs aren't running. It's quite nutty that such a thing can happen.

    It's called 'withholding supply' in Australia, and it happened when the upper house, the senate, refuses to pass the budget, created by the government and passed by the lower house. It has a similar effect to this government shutdown in the US.

    In our case, there is someone who can use 'reserve powers' to break the deadlock. The constitution also states that, if the senate refuses to pass any bill three times, the government has the right to call a 'double dissolution', which puts all seats in both houses up for election.



  • @heterodox said:

     .. with an entire nation's citizens being punished for the failures of their representatives...
     

    Sounds like it could actually be a benefit overall....after all they are (largely) elected by the nations citizens. Consider a criminal trial, the lawyer is the representative of the client, if something "fails" in the lawyers performance (short of gross neglect)...it is indeed the client who gets the punishment.



  • @eViLegion said:

    hy is your government so weird?
    Because most countries in Europe don't have the extensive checks and balances that the USA have.

    You have to keep in mind that, when the US Constitution etc. was drawn up, Europe had experienced the Englightenment, which in terms of government meant that the king did nice things for his people, whilst still being an absolute monarch. Pretty much only the UK had moved on from that.

     However, the USA was almost an experiment in nation building. They got rid of all the stuff they hated from Old Europe, such as Bills of Attainder, and started with a clean sheet. And they made sure that no single person could grab too munch power.

    Like most revolutions, however, things were not perfect from the start. The system in the USA has some fundamental problems that will be difficult to solve without taking away some of the very principles of the state, which will be unpalatable to the vast majority of the Americans. The idea of checks and balances is that you come together to find compromise. However, if those involved refuse to come together, you have a problem. And the first-past-the-post system with electoral districts favours the more radical and less inclined to compromise.

    The system in most of Europe is much more of an evolution. The French Revolution has been incredibly important in world history, but after those chaotic years and the Terror, things calmed down and evolved to the current state of affairs. France is an exception in the sense that it has a presidential system, unlike most of Europe which has a parliamentary system, but it differs enough from the US system so that such a situation as the current shutdown is highly unlikely, if not entirely impossible.

    As for most of the rest of Europe, the government (the executive) can always rely on a majority in parliament (the legislative). If the government loses its majority, it'll have to resign, and new elections are held. The current government will stay on as a caretaker, until a new government has been formed. Italy may be facign just that today.

    But when it comes to weird countries, you mentioned Belgium. That would most definitely top my list of dysfunctional government and an overly complex structure.



  • @eViLegion said:

    I mean, Belgium didn't have a government for months a couple of years ago, but instead of shutting down everything ticked over smoothly until they did have one again.

    We have a government. They just haven't gone through the formality of saying how much and how they're going to spend this year. Does your government have to follow the law? The law said, "here's a budget for the next year or so." And then when that year passes, there is no authority (for many things) to spend any more money. Some programs (like Social Security and benefits for military veterans) are more or less perpetually funded (though not necessarily all of the supporting bureaucracy for those things).



  • I think it's ridiculous that the congressmen/senators are getting paid while they have caused a shutdown. They should not get paid as an incentive for them not to pull shit like this.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @russ0519 said:

    I think it's ridiculous that the congressmen/senators are getting paid while they have caused a shutdown. They should not get paid as an incentive for them not to pull shit like this.

    Yeah! We should pass legislation that stops them from getting paid. I'm sure it will have no problem getting through the system.



  • @eViLegion said:

    I'm not talking about the politics that cause this to happen. I'm talking about it being the default option.

    You can't really separate those. It's the default option purely for political reasons. 🙂

    The funny thing is, I used to work in government archives (before programming), and I have just a tiny inkling of the massive amounts of money that our government wastes every day on absolute crap. Whenever a "government shutdown" happens, the person-wanting-more-money (who is always the current person-in-power) makes sure to shut down the parts of the government that people will notice - so things like the national parks are first on the cutting block.

    But that's completely unnecessary. There are countless[1] things our government is constantly doing that no one would (immediately) notice if they were cut, yet they continue right along during a "shutdown".

    -Steve

    [1] OK, it's not actually countless. I strongly suspect (but have not proved) that it's aleph-null. 🙂



  • Exactly, things like the NSA.



  • @koek said:

    Exactly, things like the NSA.

    Presuming you are talking about those items which were shutdown vs. those still operationing due to the critical nature of their work....The NSA is definately in the latter group.

    I spend 15 years in the DEfense Industry, and my paths crossed with the NSA on a number of occasions. "The public" may not like some of the things they do, but I would be much more worried if there was not someone "on our side" doing these things (and many more that never make mainstream news).

     Oh oh...theres a knock on my door...those guys are getting faster...gotta go....



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    I spend 15 years in the DEfense Industry, and my paths crossed with the NSA on a number of occasions. "The public" may not like some of the things they do, but I would be much more worried if there was not someone "on our side" doing these things (and many more that never make mainstream news).

    I'm fine with them spying on the rest of the world. It's amusing to hear other countries getting in a huff about their signals being read by the NSA. WTF did you think they did? What do you think other spy organizations do? It's the fact that so much of their attention is now domestic that's worrying.



  • I work for the US Gov't and I'm here to tell you, its been shutdown for years.


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