When Clinton was in power, he refused to sign a spending bill until the budget was balanced. Now, we've been through several rounds of threats of government shutdown because Congress has had difficulty deciding upon how much more to expand the budget every few months.

In US media, the Clinton shutdown seems to be considered a Good Thing. The media seems to consider the current threats of shutdown to be horrible, evil things. What's so different about the Clinton shutdown and the modern ones, making the modern ones bad in ways that weren't bad in the Clinton shutdowns? Is it just a difference in who's in power and who the media wants to support? Or is there something truly, inherently different in the way the shutdowns are implemented (or some such) making the problems that would arise, now, completely different from how they arose, then? If there are different problems, why wouldn't the modern issues have existed, historically?

  • I believe the blame of who caused a shutdown is always political. I find it interesting you use the present tense to describe a "Clinton shutdown" when he hasn't been president now for almost 20 years. I think a more useful question would be why we allow our government to shut the government down in the first place. Why haven't we made a constitutional amendment to prevent it or make a means to NOT allow it to happen when our leaders disagree?
    – Karlomanio
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:25
  • @Karlomanio What funding levels would we provide when no funding has been approved?
    – David Rice
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:28
  • @DavidRice One proposal that seems logical to me would be to leave the funding at current levels. I just think we shouldn't EVER use government funding as a political tool. Other countries don't have this problem. I've started a new question where it may be better to discuss there: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/37481/…
    – Karlomanio
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:41
  • The OP claimed Clinton refused to sign a spending bill until the budget was balanced. When?? Does the OP mean just before or during the gov’t shutdowns in Clinton’s presidency? Because that is most definitely false. Dec 29, 2018 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Someone that refuses to sign a budget because it isn't balanced looks more reasonable than someone that refuses to sign a budget because he wasn't given the level of deficit spending that was requested or expected. So one scenario is more politically viable than the other. One looks economically responsible and the other doesn't.

  • 2
    One could easily flip that argument and have it point at congress. All valid rhetoric, but ultimately, just rhetoric.
    – user1530
    Nov 2, 2015 at 16:16
  • Thanks for the reply! I'm also trying to understand what the difference in impact of shutdowns might exist. Like, was one 'total' and the other 'partial'?
    – atk
    Nov 3, 2015 at 3:32
  • @user1530 of course it's just rhetoric - it's politics. That doesn't mean it's unimportant or not real, but it isn't algorithmic to find who is more "responsible" for something like a shutdown.
    – David Rice
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .