Federal spending might be so out of control that it can’t be stopped—literally. Reuters is reporting that:
If Treasury were to decide to delay payments, it would need to re-program government computers that generate automatic payments as they fall due — a massive and difficult undertaking. Treasury makes about 3 million payments each day.
That’s a near-impossible task, and as Felix Salmon points out:
Realistically, then, the government is likely to breach the current debt ceiling no matter what Congress agrees. A failure to lift it would be a bit like an edict to a steaming supertanker that it had to stop dead: no matter how much force of law that edict has, sheer momentum is going force many basic operations of the public fisc to continue for some period of days or weeks.
But Gene Healy of the Washington Examiner sums up the scenario best:
It’s quite a picture: we’ve got liberty-threatening legislation signed by presidential Autopen, an illegal war fought by remote-controlled robot assassins, and out-of-control spending on autopilot. If only FedGov followed the First Law of Robotics.