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Issue Analysis

Ceilings and Shutdowns: Understanding Government at an Impasse. A FreedomWorks Issue Analysis

Ceilings and Shutdowns Issue Analysis

The size of the U.S. government has grown exponentially and it has become superfluous in the supposedly free-market American economy. Yet it is the nature of the government’s enormity that presents scenarios where the government ceases, if only temporarily, to operate on the broad scale Americans have become accustomed to. These are situations in which conflicts either within Congress or between Congress and the White House run afoul with legal timetables and/or rates of spending, resulting in what is called a government shutdown.

Those looking to preserve the big government status quo resort to scare tactics to avert shutdowns. Indeed, the idea of a government “shutdown” can be unnerving. However, when properly handled, the entire situation, regardless of the root cause, is entirely manageable, and perhaps a necessary reminder that major fiscal issues need adequate addressing.

Read the Issue Analysis for a better understanding of what the debt ceiling and government shutdowns mean.


Debt Ceiling: Resources for Activists and Journalists

Debbie80's picture
Debbie Jones

Very insightful article, Patrick Hedger. Good information, especially the graft of Limits on Federal Debt. Tea Party patriots are at a higher level of education on many governmental issues than those just starting to wake up. We should provide education for all interested folks, especially the younger generation. It's a good thing they don't pay young intellectuals like you in candy. Debbie from

stonestone's picture
stone stone

Its time to move on and stop repeating the same worn-out crap. The election more or less proved this. If Americans were really and truly all about whatever agenda sites like these propagate, then Obama would not have won.

But what do we continue to hear? More of the same old thing, that even though government was "big" and even bigger before Obama was President, lo and behold as soon as a Democrat was elected suddenly out comes all of these "concerns" about spending, the size of government, and entitlements- all of which were around before and yet none of you made even a peep out of during the previous 8 years. Where was this concern before Obama? If that was really the case then these same concerns would have been voiced even louder before. Hence why I read these stories with a degree of hypocrisy.

We as a country are moving forward.

stonestone's picture
stone stone

Thank you as well for a thoughtful and well-put response. But let me back things up for just a minute. I'm a little older than you ( mid-30's ) and Bush became president at about the same time as I was your age now, my early 20's. After witnessing the disaster that was that administration, I too began to pay attention to politics.

There are a number of reasons I view the Tea Party with a bit of cynicism. First of all, it was 'supposed' to be a bipartisan movement. If so, then it sure fooled me because it basically fully supports the GOP and never-ever has anything positive to say about the Democrats. Secondly, the demographic that is typically part of the tea party is almost exactly the same demographic that supports the GOP. This bears food for thought for a key reason: The GOP has for the past several decades opted to appeal to one single demographic to win elections. In the past that worked great. The sheer numbers of that demographic was an almost assured electoral foolproof means to the white house. The country has drastically changed since then and moving forward, even if 100% of their demographic votes for them that won't guarantee they'll win and if they refuse to recognize this fully, they will likely lose elections in the future. Am I all for this? No not really. Why? Because a two party system is what's needed for the country to work well. But when one party has less and less relevance to a changing country then that means that party is also losing touch with the issues from a holistic perspective. I grew up in a strongly Republican family and now vote Democratic. But as having had that upbringing, I can appreciate some aspects and the general core principles that is/was the GOP ( Think Teddy Roosevelt for example)

Lastly, we are ALL concerned about debt. We are all not super thrilled about taxes. But there has to be compromise. We have to have taxes. We have to have programs to help one another. We also need to cut spending. You can't either cut cut cut or spend spend spend. You have to have a balance. This is why we have a two party system because like it or not, both parties need one another.

D Williams

I think everyone should remember that the Tea Party and this type of thinking started in the George Bush era so to say that it only happened during Obama is garbage. It however has accelerated under the present regime and is getting worse on a daily basis. The droids can keep spouting the BS while the rest of try to take control back and put it in the hands of the people like it should be.

phedger's picture
Patrick Hedger

I was 19 when Obama took office, and 11 when George W. Bush did. I can assure you that if wasn't so concerned with starting college and girls at 19 and Legos and videogames at 11, I would have likely began voicing these concerns long ago. You are very correct to point out that these are problems that have plagued our country for many years, under many different types of administrations. However I believe, after witnessing our national debt increase a staggering 60 percent in 4 years, that these cyclical problems have been exacerbated by more recent policy. Hence as these problems grew, more people began to pay attention; whereas when these problems were manageable, the average person was for more concerned with making sure bread made it to the table every night. I believe this is still their number one concern; the difference is now they realize that these national policy decisions will begin to have a more profound impact on the end goal of bread on the table. Perhaps just not enough people realize this yet in order to win an election. Thank you for your comment. We are moving forward as a country, I just hope someone will keep trying point us in the right direction, regardless of the past.