It's all coming down to the wire. If Congress and President Obama don't reach a deal to raise the U.S. debt limit by early August, the government won't be able to honor all of its financial obligations. The nation's savings account would be essentially empty, and without the authority to borrow, Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would have to choose which bills to pay from incoming tax revenue — and which bills and obligations to ignore. "You can move the chess pieces around all you want," says Jay Powell of the Bipartisan Policy Center, but "you're going to lose." How much? Here, a look at some numbers underpinning the debate:
Current debt ceiling, reached May 16. Geithner has moved money around so the feds can continue paying the bills through Aug. 2, even though the nation's legal borrowing limit has already been reached.
Number of payments U.S. makes every month
Amount the U.S. is obligated to pay from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Amount of revenue the U.S will bring in from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Percentage of those August payments that would have to be immediately scrapped if no deal is reached
Interest payments on Treasury securities due to investors on Aug. 15
Social Security benefits to be paid from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Medicare and Medicaid benefits to be paid from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Payments to defense contractors due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Unemployment benefits to be paid from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Active-duty military pay due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Veterans Affairs program payments due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
Federal salaries and benefits due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31
U.S. tax income expected to be received on Aug. 3
U.S. spending planned for Aug. 3 (including $23 billion in Social Security checks)
Standard & Poor's stated odds, in percent, that it will lower the U.S. credit rating within 90 days
Number of top-rated municipal bonds Moody's will automatically downgrade without a debt-ceiling deal
Amount of municipal debt affected by the Moody's ultimatum
Number of times the debt ceiling has been raised since 1962
Number of times the debt ceiling has been raised since 2001
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