FORUM: Government Shutdown
Professor Logan Dancey, Department of Government
Professor Jennifer Smith, Department of Government
…will discuss the domestic and international implications of the recent Government shutdown
Thursday, October 10, 4:30 to 6:00 PM
Public Affairs Center 002
Free and open to the public
Elvin Lim, Government:
On Shutdown Politics: Why it is Not the Constitution’s Fault
So it is not the Constitution that is at fault. It is faction, injected like a toxin into the Constitution, that has caused the separation of powers to go awry. And if so, the short-term solution for shutdown politics is to call faction what it is. Errant and arrogant members of Congress need to be reminded or educated that while they represent their constituents, some of whom no doubt want a stay on Obamacare, each member of Congress also belongs to a chamber of the United States and it is always the national majority (across the nation) that counts more than a factional majority (in a district).
Richard Grossman, Economics:
Republicans’ ideological crusade on health care, causing the shutdown, could lead to economic disaster – Courant.com.
Republicans should take a lesson from history, which has shown time and time again that such ideological crusades, when applied to economic policy, can have disastrous consequences.
Magda Teter, Jewish Studies
A case for history
During his marathon talk on the Senate floor, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, turned to history to help him persuade his colleagues to support his dream of defunding Obamacare, and quiet those saying that it was “impossible,” and “cannot be done.”
Sen. Cruz’s statements were not only outrageous. They were also inaccurate. Britain responded to the German invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939 within hours, and Neville Chamberlain declared that the nation was at war with Germany by late morning the following day.
A colleague emailed links to these interesting articles on whether there is a Constitutional basis for the current government shutdown. Both are interesting reads from the Washington Post.
The shutdown is the Constitution’s fault.
But it’s not just that Madison’s system is unnecessary. It’s potentially dangerous. Scholars of comparative politics have shown that presidential systems with a separation of executive and legislative functions, like America’s, are considerably more likely to collapse into dictatorship than are parliamentary systems where the executive and legislative branches are merged. That’s because there are competing branches of government able to claim democratic legitimacy and steer the ship of state at the same time — and when they disagree profoundly, there’s no real mechanism for resolving the dispute.
And the rebuttal:
It’s not Madison. It’s the Republicans.
But in my view, the problem isn’t system impasse; it’s that one of today’s parties is attempting to function under a “principle” of rejecting compromise.