What the International Community Thinks About the Government Shutdown

What the International Community Thinks About the Government Shutdown

Whether confused, concerned or amused, many countries have weighed in on the U.S. government shutdown debate.

Published October 2, 2013

Americans may have taken the recent U.S. government shutdown in stride, but the halt seems to have baffled some countries and amused others.

"[American policymakers] are facing the unthinkable prospect of shutting down the government as they squabble over the inconsequential accomplishment of a 10-week funding extension," wrote Mexico's The News in a recent op-ed.

Lamenting the demise of a nation that "once knew how to transcend ideological differences," one French paper decided on derision in a piece titled, "Jefferson, wake up, they became fools."

A number of international media outlets have also expressed concern over the effects the shutdown will have on the global economy.

"Globalisation…means every country is in it together," wrote David Blanchflower, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College. "Americans sneeze and Brits catch the flu."

While several federal services will be closed and hundreds of thousands of workers impacted, government shutdowns are typically accepted in the U.S. Yet, as Anthony Zurcher at BBC notes, shutdowns in most other countries often result from revolution, invasion or disaster.

As BBC reports:

Elsewhere in the world, such shutdowns are practically impossible.

The parliamentary system used by most European democracies ensures that the executive and legislature are controlled by the same party or coalition.

Conceivably, a parliament could refuse to pass a budget proposed by the prime minister, but such an action would likely trigger a failure of the government and a new election witness the current situation in the Netherlands, where Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government faced a no-confidence vote at the start of debate over his 2014 budget proposal.

And even when there is a gap prior to a new government taking office, national services continue to operate.

Keep reading here.

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 (Photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Written by Patrice Peck


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