The Treasury Department could potentially prioritize paying off U.S. debts before other obligations without an increase in the debt ceiling, avoiding default. But according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, that would mean cutting all other government expenditures - which include military pay and entitlement payments - by 44 percent.
A majority of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that certain entitlement payments will be stopped without an increase in the debt ceiling; 44 percent say it is not very likely. President Obama warned in an interview with CBS News last week that he could not guarantee that Social Security checks will go out after the August 2 deadline without a deal.
(Credit: CBS News)
Eight in ten Americans, meanwhile, predict a severe downturn in the economy and stock market without a debt ceiling increase, including 45 percent who say it is very likely. The percentage who says a severe downtown is very likely has risen 20 points since last month. Just 13 percent say a severe downturn is not very likely. (See graphic at left