Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has politely reminded everyone that as of Monday, the Treasury Department won't be able to borrow any more money. In a letter sent to Congress on Wednesday, Geithner warned that the government will hit its legally mandated limit on borrowing—the so-called debt ceiling—in just five days and mere hours before the January 1 deadline to prevent the looming austerity crisis.
Geithner's letter also spelled out a series of steps that he will personally take to temporarily get around the debt ceiling limit, taking "extraordinary measures" to create a cushion of around $200 billion through a series of accounting tricks. That would buy the government about two months worth of borrowing costs, allowing the Treasury to pay its bills without defaulting or without Congress actually raising the debt limit. Of course, that doesn't actually account for the damage that would be done by the fiscal cliff, which could make that time even shorter.