Once all efforts are exhausted, then the government would be in uncharted territory.
At that point, the government would continue to get tax revenue, but hardly enough to keep up with the bills. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the federal government between Feb. 15 and March 15 will get $277 billion in revenue and face $452 billion in obligations.
The Treasury would have to decide whether to pay some obligations and not others or to simply pay for one day’s bills as it tax revenue rolls in, exponentially delaying payments the longer the debt ceiling is not raised. Under virtually every scenario contemplated, payment of interest on the debt takes precedence to put off a calamitous default.
‘‘I happen to think the triage would be chosen to create the maximum amount of political pressure to break the impasse right away, which would be withholding Social Security checks,’’ said Philip Wallach, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Follow Jim Kuhnhenn on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jkuhnhenn