Here's one way to think about the debt ceiling debate: on Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department said that Washington now has a total operating balance of only US$73.768-billion. The Financial Post was quick to note that this is less than the cash reserve of Apple (US$75.876-billion).
As we continue to eat into our cash supply over the debate, the figures only gets worse. On July 18th, the Federal government had $114,326 billion in cash in the back. As of today, it has only $54 billion, which Business Insider pointed out is $2 billion less than Bill Gates. Henry Blodget at Business Insider commented, "By early next week, if Congress can't get its act together, the United States will have less cash than . Then .com. Then, eventually, ."As we continue our slide down the technology hierarchy, Business Insider provided this caveat: "Of course, net worth and cash on hand are different concepts, so it's kind of comparing apples and oranges, but what matters is that it's a powerful symbol."
Also powerful, this chart (courtesy of the U.S. Treasury via Business Insider):
Or perhaps it's not only terrible news that we now have less cash than Apple and Bill Gates -- the Los Angeles Times finds a silver lining in the fact that "in the mid-1890s, with the U.S. economy still recovering from the financial panic of 1893... President Cleveland met with New York financier J.P. Morgan, who pledged a whopping $60 million in gold. Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $1.5 billion today." Writes the LA Times: "It's not terribly likely that the government will ask Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs for help. But it wouldn't be the first time the government has asked for a bailout from an industry mogul."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.