If you are talking about the US government shutdown(s), people SAY they're due to running out of money, but that's not exactly what is happening. See, the US Congress holds the purse-strings for the government. They don't have the ability to just magically make US Dollars, even though the federal...
Best answer: If you are talking about the US government shutdown(s), people SAY they're due to running out of money, but that's not exactly what is happening. See, the US Congress holds the purse-strings for the government. They don't have the ability to just magically make US Dollars, even though the federal government runs the Dollar printing press. They are limited by how much revenue the federal government can collect or borrow, and by how much they credit they can "give" themselves. (If they give themselves too much credit, the Dollars they print will be worth less and less to trading partners outside the US, which will eventually effect how much they are worth INSIDE the US, too. So Congress has limitations on how much they can spend, even though the federal government actually prints the Dollar bills, and could (theoretically) just leave the printing presses running all night.)
Now, Congress determines during their budgeting process just how much revenue they expect to collect or borrow, and based on that, it determines how much it will spend. But it wants to control that spending, so it doesn't authorize the executive departments (like Agriculture, Energy, Justice, etc) to spend their entire two years' budgets all at once. It might authorize expenditure of a quarter- or a half-year at a time. During periods when Congress is fighting internally over something like this "Immigration" issue, one side or the other has the ability to insist that these limited authorizations only go a few months or even just a few weeks unless an agreement on the disputed issue is reached. So, essentially, they are holding their permission to spend as a hostage, to try to force the terms they want to achieve on the disputed issue (in this case, immigration).
So, basically, due to in-fighting, Congress has left the executive branch authorized to only spend what they were budgeted for, for two more days. It's not that the money doesn't exist. It's that the departments are not authorized to spend it. So they will send their employees home without paychecks, and close their offices, and put their contracts on hold - to the extent that they can. Obviously, they have to keep their police and fire protection on the job - and a million other functions that can't just stop - like the US military, or the operation of dams and locks on US rivers. The money to maintain those things WILL be spent, whether it is authorized or not. (When Congress finally gets around to some sort of agreement, they will simply write a paragraph into their next authorization that retro-actively approves all those expenditures.)
So no, the machines aren't breaking down. What has broken down is the voters' will to hold individual Congressmen accountable for reducing the federal government to chaos in order to continue behaving like spoiled brats, instead of responsibly crafting a compromise.
2 weeks ago