Skip to main content

Is shutdown a sorry spectacle, or shock treatment?

updated 12:09 PM EDT, Sat October 5, 2013
HIDE CAPTION
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN commentators assess the impact and causes of the government shutdown
  • Frida Ghitis: The spectacle is baffling to America's friends, encouraging to its enemies
  • David Gergen: The shutdown is bad, but could have a silver lining if it forestalls default
  • Matt Welch: As in the past, we'll survive the shutdown without lasting effects

(CNN) -- Since the start of the government shutdown October 1, analysts, journalists and experts have been sorting through the claims of Republicans and Democrats about the underlying issues in the budget dispute. Here's a sampling of pieces published by CNN Opinion:

Frida Ghitis
Frida Ghitis

Frida Ghitis: World baffled by America's self-inflicted wound

America's enemies must be laughing. But most of the world is just baffled, mystified at the sight of the world's most powerful country tangled in a crippling web of its own making. The government shutdown is weakening the United States before its allies and its foes. It is eroding American standing and prestige while reducing American power and influence. The democracy that once inspired the world now leaves observers perplexed. Read more

Bob Greene
Bob Greene

Bob Greene: Taxpayers, you deserve your money back

If we had paid for an airline ticket, and in the middle of our trip the airline informed us that one leg of our journey had been canceled, we would justifiably demand a refund. If we ordered an annual subscription to 52 weeks of a magazine, and then, a few months into it, the magazine told us that its new policy was to publish only 26 issues a year, we would, with good reason, ask for half of our money back. If we paid for a one-year membership in a health club, and the club announced that it would have to close for repairs for three months, we would expect a 25% refund. So ... exactly when can we expect to see our refund checks from the federal government? Read more

David Gergen
David Gergen

David Gergen: Shutdown could be shock therapy

Yes, conservative hard-liners have chosen the wrong place to fight; arguments over Obamacare are no excuse to shut down the government. Yes, hard-liners like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are creating deeper partisan divides. But Democrats can ill afford to continue rejecting any talks or negotiations. Now that the shutdown has happened, Obama has a fresh opportunity -- indeed a fresh responsibility -- to seize the mantle of leadership and get us out of this mess. Instead of just blaming the Republicans, he should call in the leaders of both parties and in Lyndon Johnson fashion, keep 'em talking till they get a deal. Read more

Marian Currinder
Marian Currinder
Josh Huder
Josh Huder

Marian Currinder and Josh Huder: Boehner's bad choices

No House speaker wants to go down in history for a legislative record opposed by the majority of his or her own party. And no speaker wants to go down in history for presiding over one of the most unproductive Congresses in history. But these are Boehner's choices.

While [former Speaker Dennis] Hastert relied on a majority of the majority, Boehner has had to rely on a minority of the majority, together with a majority of the minority, to pass important legislation. Read more

David Rothkopf
David Rothkopf

David Rothkopf: Where's the outrage?

The most stunning thing about this first shutdown of the U.S. government in almost two decades is the degree to which it is a nonevent, considered par for the course given the sad state of affairs in the nation's capital. Voters may be angry. They may be depressed. But there are no mass demonstrations. Congress' approval rating may have hit new lows, but beyond that, the response has been a shrug. Read more

Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann: GOP House can't claim to speak for America

The Affordable Care Act is law. End of story. The House Republicans' attempt to nullify a duly enacted law violates the norms of our constitutional system. It is reckless economically and an egregious affront to our democratic form of government. Read more

Matt Welch
Matt Welch

Matt Welch: Government shutdown is nothing to worry about

So when President Barack Obama says the shutdown will "throw a wrench into the gears of our economy" and put "the American people's hard-earned progress at risk," it is appropriate to treat such claims with skepticism. As we saw during the run-up to the March 1 sequestration trims in federal spending, politicians are incentivized by self-interest and unconstrained by shame in maximizing the hyperbole about what may happen if their ability to collect and redistribute our money is impeded even a little bit. Read more

Theresa Pierno
Theresa Pierno

Theresa Pierno: Parks take the hit for Congress' failure

The closure of America's crown jewels threatens the livelihood of park businesses, gateway communities and the American families within them, whose economies rely on national parks being open for business. Families, school groups and tourists from around the world who have made plans to visit and enjoy our national heritage will face disappointment. Bar Harbor, Maine, adjacent to Acadia National Park, attracts nearly 10,000 visitors daily in October. The loss of these visitors could be shattering to a community that relies on that final flush of tourism dollars before the steep drop-off in winter...The federal government shutdown has made a bad situation even worse for our national parks. Over the past three years, the National Park Service's budget has been cut by 13%, or about $315 million. Read more

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah: 10% of Americans like Congress -- are they nuts?

When you think that 10% of Americans believe Congress is doing a good job, you have to ask yourself one question: Who are these people?...Congress is so dysfunctional that dictators in other countries are probably pointing at it as an example of why you should never have a democracy. Yet, somehow, about 30 million Americans are looking at what Congress is doing and thinking: "I like what I see." If you actually think Congress is doing a good job, something is terribly awry in your life. People in your family need to stage an immediate intervention. Read more

Meg Urry
Meg Urry

Meg Urry: NASA shutdown a blow to science

Scientists at NASA and the National Science Foundation are some of the hardest-working people I know. The government shutdown means they are forbidden to do any work. They can't take their laptops home or phone into teleconferences from home, the way I might if a hurricane or snowstorm threatened Yale. So, you might think they are having a nice (though unpaid) vacation. But actually, the same work is sitting on their desk when they get back, and it all has to get done. So it means they'll work longer hours to catch up and for most civil servant scientists, there is no such thing as overtime pay. Read more

Follow us on Twitter: @CNNOpinion.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the authors.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:15 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 1:28 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT