The government was "shut down" after Congress failed to authorize funding for the new fiscal year that began Oct. 1. But much of the government is still operating based on funding that falls outside that authorization.
The debt ceiling is a different animal. If it's not raised by mid-October, the Treasury can no longer pay about a third of the government's bills. Those payments amount to about 6.5 percent of gross domestic product—in an economy growing by about 2.5 percent. In other words, a debt freeze would throw the economy hard into reverse and another deep recession.