The U.S. Capitol

The U.S. Capitol is seen through a chain fence in Washington on Sept. 30. (KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS / September 30, 2013)

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  • What do you think?
    (Note: This is an unscientific poll.)

    Is a federal government shutdown really such a bad thing? Or not?

    • Yes. It creates hardship for hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families and millions more Americans who depend on their services.
    • No. Outside of Washington, it's a minor inconvenience for most Americans. And at least it forces a pause in out-of-control federal spending and borrowing.
    • Yes. It damages the U.S. economy and its international reputation by making the country look ungovernable.
    • No. It could be just what's needed to shock both sides into a deal on reducing deficits.
  • Topics
  • U.S. Government Shutdown (2013)
  • U.S. Congress
  • White House
  • See more topics »

With Congress and the White House still deadlocked late Monday over the terms of a stopgap spending bill, the federal government careened toward its first shutdown since 1996. The president and leaders in both parties in Congress insisted they didn't want the government to go into a partial shutdown, but none was either willing or able to make a compromise to keep it from happening. Speaking to reporters Monday, the president said a shutdown would be "the height of irresponsibility" and would "throw a wrench into the gears of our economy." Is a shutdown as bad as the president said? Is it a big deal outside of Washington, D.C.? Is there any upside to it? Talk about it!


Obama warns shutdown would hurt 'gravely'
NBC News, Sept. 30

Government by Gridlock: Why some want a shutdown
Howard Kurtz, Fox News, Sept. 30

Wall Street Uneasy in Face of Government Shutdown
DealBook blog, New York Times, Sept. 29