Shutting down the government of one's own country isn't such a great idea, even when the shutdown is partial. A column in the Washington post says that the impact of it is likely to be small so far as damage to the economy is concerned. But damage to the economy isn't everything. Consider the effect of the shutdown on Michelle Langbehn. She's in the middle of treatment for cancer and is waiting to learn if she can take part in a clinical trial:
When I contacted him [the clinical research coordinator] on September 30, he had told me all my records had been sent in, and they had started evaluation, that they needed to do their own re-diagnosis. They had started, and then on Tuesday, everything came to a halt... If I had a message, it would be that lives are at stake.
You'd expect some serious consequences from a shutdown of government-supported functions.
On a related matter there's also this, which I don't understand at all - a column by Sean Wilentz, professor of history at Princeton, who argues that the Republicans in Congress would be acting unconstitutionally in precipitating a default on the US public debt. How can that be so and Obama not be threatening to use it to resolve the current standoff if he has to? Somebody else might be able to explain it to me.