The United States federal government has been shut down since Tuesday. Thousands of workers are furloughed, national parks and monuments are closed, and Congress is still getting paid.
What’s worse is this may not be the biggest crisis the US faces this month.
Later in October — or early November at the latest — the Treasury department will hit the “debt ceiling” and max out its credit line. The debt ceiling is a legal limit placed on the Treasury by Congress that says the US cannot have more than X amount of debt. That amount right now is $16.699 trillion.
Both parties have said they will have no part in a United States default on debt due to not raising the debt ceiling, so that’s encouraging. Yet each day that rolls forward means we are getting closer and closer to not being able to make our minimum payments on all of our obligations. If we default expect widespread chaos in financial markets, Treasury bill interest rates, and the value of the dollar.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.