After reading ALL of the How would you cut the budget? thread, I have some questions. Everyone seems to expect a collapse of some sort. There are all kinds of vague implications about "the end." So . . . exactly what form will this collapse take? I imagine that at some point in the near future we will fail to raise the debt ceiling in time to avoid default, and our credit rating will be downgraded again. Is this really a big deal? Will banks indeed stop lending us money? If they do, will that lead to collapse? And by that, do you expect "hard times," or TEOTWAWKI-style anarchy? Are there historical examples of such a collapse? Everyone points to the Weimar Republic, but there were other factors involved (WWI). Everyone points to Greece, but there's no fire and brimstone raining down on that country. Thanks in advance for an interesting discussion.