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Over the last 40 years, the American budget system has become increasingly inefficient and detrimental to the American People. The biggest issue within the budget system is the occurrence of government shutdowns and their increasing severity over time. Government shutdowns are a uniquely dangerous phenomenon that directly affects all Americans, hurting public workers, public infrastructure, removing social services, and creating chaos all across the country. The unprecedented harm caused by government shutdowns is well known and the shutdowns themselves are entirely avoidable, yet they continue to not only happen but increase in magnitude. I theorize that these shutdowns are caused by an increase in political polarization, faulty budget procedure surrounding the budget system, or a combination of the two. For this purpose I researched the most intense shutdowns in current history under the Clinton, Obama, and Trump administrations. Political polarization has caused a rift between the Republican and Democratic parties that has encouraged the use of government shutdowns as political weapons in ideologically charged fights. The infrastructure around the budget has also become complicated with inter-agency budgetary politics and a continually more complicated budget due to bulky legislation and natural federal growth. After analysis, it is clear that political polarization is a direct factor in the continually growing problem of government shutdowns. Proving infrastructural problems in budget procedure, however, was inconclusive due to the lack of available records of its affect during government shutdowns.
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Huggins, Samuel Francis, "Origins of the Government Shutdown: The American Budget's Greatest Inefficiency" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 239.
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