Brad Plumer over hos The Washington Post lurer på hvem som får betalt hvis USA går konkurs. Og hvem bestemmer hvem som får betalt, siden alt er automatisk.
Unless Congress intervenes, the U.S. government will bump up against the debt ceiling some time in late February. At that point, the government will only have enough tax revenue to pay about 60 percent of its bills — and it won’t be able to borrow more money to make up the difference. So what happens then?
Consider how the U.S. government actually pays its bills. Each and every day, computers at the Treasury Department receive roughly two million invoices from various agencies. The Department of Labor might say, for example, that it owes a contractor $3 million to fix up a building in Denver. The Treasury computers make sure the figures are correct and then authorize the payment. This is done automatically, dozens of times per second.
Now say Congress fails to lift the debt ceiling by late February. Treasury will be confronted with around $450 billion in obligations each month, and it will only be bringing in enough revenue to cover about $277 billion. So who gets paid and who gets stiffed?
For many economists, there’s one clear priority: The United States absolutely must not miss a payment to bondholders. The global financial markets are structured around the notion that U.S. Treasuries are the safest asset in the world. If that assumption were ever called into question, havoc would ensue. It «would be like the financial market equivalent of that Hieronymus Bosch painting of hell,» says Michael Feroli, chief economist at JP Morgan.
Hvis du lurte, slik ser Hieronymus Bosch’ painting of hell ut:
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