Via the BBC: US shutdown has other nations confused and concerned.
For most of the world, a government shutdown is very bad news – the result of revolution, invasion or disaster. Even in the middle of its ongoing civil war, the Syrian government has continued to pay its bills and workers’ wages.
That leaders of one of the most powerful nations on earth willingly provoked a crisis that suspends public services and decreases economic growth is astonishing to many.
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.
In non-parliamentary democracies, such as Brazil, a strong executive branch has the ability to keep the lights on during a budget impasse. Such was the case in the United States as well, until a 1980 Carter administration interpretation of the 1884 Anti-Deficiency Act strictly limited the powers of federal agencies in the absence of congressional funding authorisations.
U S A!
Also, via the Monkey Cage: Why other countries don’t have government shutdowns
In 2010 and 2011 Belgium was without an elected government for 589 days- a record for a democracy. Tensions had risen so high between the Flemish (Dutch speakers) and the Walloons (French speakers) that the various political parties were unable to agree on a coalition that could govern the country. Yet, budgets were passed, government workers were paid, and government services continued to be provided.
A Washington Post article today notices that countries like Pakistan and Colombia have had civil wars, coups, financial crises, even defaults but never a government shutdown. I will appeal to the collective wisdom of Monkey Cagers, but I cannot think of a single foreign analogy to what is happening in the U.S. today.
Both links via Matthew Shugart, who notes on Facebook:
My two cents: Elsewhere either a new government or early elections are called (most, maybe all, parliamentary systems) or there is simply an automatic continuation of current spending on all authorized programs until the impasse is resolved. I can’t think of any other system where the reversion is zero.