If you've ever looked at a stack of bills and realized you owe more money than you have in the bank, you can understand the position the U.S. government will soon be in, if lawmakers don't agree to raise the debt ceiling.
The Obama administration would then face the same decision as any cash-strapped consumer: Who gets paid? And who doesn't?
House Republicans huddle behind closed doors seeking votes for Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling bill, while Senate Democrats move ahead on their own plan, which faces lumbering procedural hurdles. The irony, says President Obama, is that "the two parties are not miles apart." He adds that "the time for putting party first is over."
[Updated: 08/01/2011 - Audio of the 7/31 seminar is now available online.] Robin Wright is a journalist, foreign policy analyst, and a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International enter for Scholars in Washington, DC.
Hospitals, nursing homes, doctors and state health programs could survive a brief pinch if the Washington debt ceiling deadlock leads the government to stop paying Medicare and Medicaid bills. But if an impasse were to drag on for more than a few weeks, health care providers could be unable to pay their staffs or even face insolvency, according to health care experts and former government officials.
As sagas go, it rivals the Star Wars epics: "Yucca Mountain: The Quest for a Nuclear Waste Dump" premiered in 1978, when the U.S. government added the Nevada site to its list of potential "permanent repositories." Since then, it's been a story of political intrigue, desert outposts, giant machines and doctored science.
Chosen in 1987 as the "winner" of the competition, the Yucca Mountain site was already half-built when President Barack Obama canceled the long-controversial project last year.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band, led by the husband-and-wife duo of guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi and slide guitarist Derek Trucks, began out of practical consideration. Working together allowed the couple to continue performing while raising their young family.
Pregnant? Making a mixtape to accompany your labor is not likely your first consideration. It certainly wasn't mine back in the snowy winter of 2010. But many hospitals and birth centers promise you CD players or even iPod docks in the delivery room. Medical professionals encourage you to bring music to help you bear the experience.
As of Wednesday, the Treasury reported it had $73.768 billion cash on hand. What the Obama administration has been saying is that that number will dwindle to a point where the U.S. will not be able to pay its financial obligations, unless it's allowed to borrow more money.