Could Gov't Shutdowns Work In A Completely Different Way? [a 'what if?']

Back in May, 1980, the U.S. Attorney General issued an opinion that the 1884 Antideficiency Act required that federal agencies should shut down and workers furloughed if Congress had not appropriated money for the time the money would be spent.
This is not the only way things could have gone - before 1980, there were some funding gaps (a few can be found on this chart) and agencies weren’t shuttered and workers weren’t furloughed. The assumption was the Congress didn’t intend to close up shop, it was just trying to figure out what it wants to do.
I’m interested in peoples’ opinions on: How would things be different if this assumption were still in force?

If the situation doesn’t cause any pain then there is no pressure to resolve it.

That’s true - factions of Congress can use a government shutdown to inflict pain on opposing factions in order to force them to grant concessions, take votes, change legislation, but the process inflicts pains on others as well - many government services are suspended, although others keep going.

Is Congress so broken and with so few methods to encourage agreement and compromise that the pain inflicted by a shutdown is necessary, or is it possible that the current acrimony in Congress could subside and deals would be struck even without the pain of a shutdown?

I wouldn’t disagree that shutdowns provide the impetus for legislation that wouldn’t get through otherwise - but were the disagreements of forty years ago so different that the methods used pre-1980 to bring people together on legislation just plain don’t work anymore?

Appropriations could work in a very different way. Senator Portman has long pushed a bill providing for an automatic 120-day continuing resolution in the event that a funding extension for the government could not be agreed upon. His bill further provided that if no agreement was reached by the end of that 120 days, successive 90-day automatic continuing resolutions would take effect, but government funding would be cut by one percent across the board each time. He almost got this bill to a vote one time, but Sen. Mikulski (then the chair of the Appropriations Committee) opposed the automatic cuts and shot it down.

It’s not the disagreements that are different but the resolution procedures. Before 1970, filibustering required actually holding the floor with a continuing speech. Filibusters were thus rare, because of the effort involved, but they locked up Senate business when they happened. The speech requirement was eliminated so that other Senate business could proceed while a particular bill is being filibustered, and this was thought to be a way to make the institution run more smoothly, but now that there is virtually no cost to filibustering, it happens much more often.

Well, his idea is terrible.

When Republicans are in control of Congress, they would just never pass budgets for agencies they do not favor, and let those agencies wither on the vine.

Presumably the withering of the agencies they do favor is the negative incentive.