Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
Would you run your business this way? It turns out that despite its vast powers, the federal government is saddled with an inflexible bill-paying system. That will make it harder to stave off crisis if the debt ceiling isn't raised by the Oct. 17 deadline. After that, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will lose about a third of his spending money. And with about 100 million government payments to make every month, the highly automated system makes it hard to choose between, say, maintaining nuclear missiles and keeping parks open. In fact, some laws specifically bar the Treasury from not paying bills. Then again, maybe it won't matter: some legal experts think President Obama can authorize continued federal borrowing all by himself, avoiding a debt-ceiling crisis. But the White House says it ain't so, preferring to keep the blame on Congress.
"Lew faces few good choices and many of those choices pit one law against another. What's unclear is the legality of Lew relying on a tried-and-true tactic used at one time or another by every American check writer: 'The check is in the mail.'"—CNBC's Steve Liesman
"The Constitution gives Congress—not the president—the authority to borrow money, and only Congress can increase the debt ceiling."—White House Press Secretary Jay Carney