Debt debacle a matter of semantics?

The bottom line is that Congress must find some common ground on the debt ceiling -- and soon. If lawmakers don't act, the ramifications would be immediate. The United States would be entirely dependent upon incoming cash to cover costs.

In addition to the global effects of such a situation, many U.S. citizens who rely on federal money would find their benefits cut or gone.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., and founded by former U.S. senators from both parties, examined publicly available data from Daily Treasury Statements and has calculated that on Aug. 3 alone the Treasury would be $20 billion short.

Cash flow analysis for Aug. 3, 2011
Cash flow analysis
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center

And the fiscal battles won't stop even after the debt ceiling issue is resolved. Capitol Hill is facing an Oct. 1 deadline to enact the fiscal year 2012 budget.

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