Okay, not a real surprise I suppose, but still disheartening. Why did this happen? About 80% of the time the government spends more than it makes in tax revenue. This means it needs credit, bonds, to keep operating, although it can just print money if it would like, but that's a different story. Time for a one trillion dollar coin! Think of this as needing another student loan to go to college another semester, a car loan or a home mortgage. The reason the government spends more than it makes, especially in this economy, is that it wants to grow the economy, and the more money people make, the more they spend. However, House of Representative Republicans are tired of the spending and feel that the Affordable Car Act, which already passed both houses of Congress, was signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court, might be just too much government spending. So they tried to delay the law from being implemented by not allowing the debt ceiling to be raised. Interesting to note the debt ceiling nearly tripled in the 1980s.
So today all non-essential government workers, are not working. The rest are working, without pay. Obviously the situation will change daily and even hourly, the real concern is if the US defaults on it's debt obligations, expected October 17th.