I have a thought experiment regarding the debt ceiling debate. Mainly this is the thoughts around the situation of "what happens if we can't maintain our current level of obligations." Imagine that America is a house. The roads and infrastructure are the pipes. The agriculture is the yard, the industry represented by the house's office and kitchen. The citizenry are those that live in side.
Each time we try and make a cut to the budget of running that house we have to shut down a small part of the house's operation. By cutting the money we give to the most at risk, we have to pull our kid's allowance and remove Grandpa's medicine cabinet.
Each time we need to make a repair to the infrastructure but put it off because it is too pricey we play a dangerous game of chance till something completely catastrophic happens and the house needs more repairs then we can actually fathom. Eventually the repairs needed are so dire that the kitchen explodes and the office collapses.
We currently have other houses who have lent us money, some of our own family members have as well. By not increasing out debt ceiling, we are threatening to have those family members and backers loose faith in us. This turns us into the deadbeat uncle/neighbor who has a house that is considered urban blight.
We have built the house of America, and if we don't maintain it, it will crumble leaving only ruins and a broken people.
Al Franken tells it best in this 45 minute speech.