The Founding Fathers crafted well to ensure that checks and balances limited the reach of the political system. On the assumption that checks and balances work, government would never overreach, and debt crises would not occur.
Unfortunately, the checks and balances have eroded over two centuries, partly as a consequence of three major wars (1860-65, 1917-18, 1941-45), partly as a consequence of three presidents prepared to violate the Constitution (Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR), partly as a consequence of increasing rent-seeking and rent-extraction within the legislative branch, and partly as a consequence of a Supreme Court that repeatedly has mis-interpreted the Constitution.
The result is the debt crisis now confronting the United States economy and the absence of any effective government to resolve that crisis.
When a country has no government, it essentially returns to the state of nature, where individuals fend for themselves under a law of nature. The law of nature provides individuals with a natural right to life, liberty, and property. The rights to life and liberty are inalienable (i.e. no one morally may take away those rights nor may individuals morally voluntarily sacrifice those rights). The right to property is imprescriptible (i.e. no one may morally seize those rights but individuals voluntarily may alienate themselves from such rights).
A state of nature is not always a terrible place to inhabit. A population accustomed to honoring the moral code will develop mechanisms for protecting their natural rights without recourse to a central government. It is a place endowed with some uncertainty and some inconvenience – individuals cannot always protect their rights against non-conforming predators. It may well be superior to a political society that is in the final stages of internal collapse – such as the United States in the late summer of 2011.
If the non-government of the United States fails to resolve in a timely fashion the debt crisis that it has created the People may sensibly choose to shut down their political society and to return to the state of nature that they perhaps unwisely chose to leave behind at the end of the War of Revolution in the late eighteeenth century.