ALABAMA (WHNT) — Millions of Americans could be affected if lawmakers do not reach an agreement on the debt ceiling, and it could have a direct impact on thousands across Alabama.
As negotiations on a debt ceiling deal continue in the nation’s capital, there are real concerns surrounding what a debt default would look like. The could have significant effects on people in Alabama.
A debt default means the U.S. government would be unable to pay its bills.
It would impact those expecting funds from the government such as social security checks, SNAP benefit payments, and federal employees expecting a paycheck.
In Madison County alone, nearly 5% of the population works for the federal government. That amounts to more than 19,300 people. Alabama would lose almost 11,000 in a short default, where the government defaults for less than a week.
If there is a prolonged default, lasting one month or longer, Moody Analytics predicts Alabama could see its unemployment rate peak at 9.3%. That rate currently sits at 2.2% as of April.
U.S. Congressman Dale Strong (R-Ala.) says it’s going to take some compromise to get a deal done, but made it clear that spending needed to be cut.
“I can tell you this right here it’s going to take some negotiation, but the big thing is our country cannot sustain a 32 trillion-dollar debt. We’ve got to make some changes we’ve got to operate within our budget,” Strong told News 19.
Multiple areas could be impacted by the potential debt default.
An estimated 70 million social security payments would be delayed. Payments for 4 million government workers would be placed on hold, and federal programs that rely on government funds such as veteran benefits, Medicare, and food assistance would also be affected.
National economic council deputy director Bharat Ramamurti says a default would have significant impacts on the U.S. economy.
“A default would throw this economy into a recession, it would mean an immediate spike in interest rates, it would cause real economic harm to families across the country,” Ramamurti.
The deadline for a potential default has now been pushed back. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the government will run out of funds to meet financial obligations by June 5th.
That date differs from an earlier estimate that the treasury could run out of money by June 1st, giving lawmakers a few more days to reach a deal.