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The U.S. Treasury has the means to avoid a debt default even if Congress fails to raise the government’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. The bad news is that it can’t prevent a recession.

Economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., IHS Inc. and BNP Paribas SA said they expect the Treasury to husband the tax money it collects to make sure it can meet interest payments on the nation’s debt. Other obligations, from salaries of government workers to payments to defense contractors, would face the ax. The result: $175 billion less in government spending during November alone, said Goldman’s Alec Phillips in Washington.

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