That’s how much our Federal government currently has to borrow to pay its bills, I’m told. And that’s how much of a shortfall there will be if the GOP forces a debt ceiling default.
What will happen is that the Treasury will first pay the principle and interest costs on our national debt (we would not want the bondholders to suffer), ahead of Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, or even the military. After debt service, the Treasury could either pay for the military or all the rest of our social welfare and “discretionary” spending – but not both. And that’s only a part of the damage that such an irresponsible act would produce.
The Republicans are right that we have to begin getting our deficit spending under control. But this is obviously not the way to do it. Nor will we get there with spending cuts alone – without gutting either the military, or our safety net, or both. I know that the math scores in our schools have been declining for years, but this is ridiculous. It's elementary school arithmetic.