Skip to main content

Is shutdown a sorry spectacle, or shock treatment?

October 5, 2013 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
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
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 2011 GMT (0411 HKT)
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2141 GMT (0541 HKT)
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
America will have its hands full in the Middle East for years to come, writes Aaron David Miller.
November 15, 2014 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
Gene Seymour says it's part of our pioneering makeup to keep exploring the universe
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
Sally Kohn says the U.S.-China agreement to cut carbon emissions is a big deal, and Republicans should take note.
November 15, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
S.E. Cupp says the Obamacare advisor who repeatedly disses the electorate in a series of videotaped remarks reveals arrogance and cluelessnes.
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
Reggie Littlejohn says gendercide is a human rights abuse against women, with bad consequences for nations.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
The massing of Russian forces near Ukraine only reinforces the impression that Moscow has no interest in reconciliation with the West, writes Michael Kofman.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1455 GMT (2255 HKT)
It takes a real man to make the moves on the wife of the most powerful man in the biggest country. Especially when the wife is a civilian major general.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
Proponents of marriage equality LGBT persons have been on quite a winning streak -- 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
It has been an eventful few weeks for space news.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
It's too early to write the U.S. off, and China's leaderships knows that better than anyone, argues Kerry Brown.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1821 GMT (0221 HKT)
"How can Jon Stewart hire you to be 'The Daily Show''s senior Muslim correspondent when you don't even know how to pronounce Salaam Al-aikum?!"
ADVERTISEMENT