If a U.S. economic collapse occurs, it will happen quickly. No one would predict it. That's because the signs of imminent failure are difficult to see.
For example, the U.S. economy almost collapsed on September 17, 2008. That's the day the Reserve Primary Fund broke the buck. Panicked investors withdrew a record $140 billion from money market accounts where businesses keep cash to fund day-to-day operations. If withdrawals had gone on for even a week, the entire economy would have halted. That meant trucks would stop rolling, grocery stores would run out of food, and businesses would shut down.
Fortunately, the Federal Reserve Chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary noticed the signal and knew what it meant. Ben Bernanke was a Great Depression scholar. Hank Paulson was a Wall Street veteran. Their bailout plan supplied enough cash to prevent a total collapse. The 2008 financial crisis did plenty of damage, but it could have been much worse.
Another example occurred during the Great Depression. On Thursday, October 24, the 1929 stock market crash began. By Tuesday, the market had lost 25 percent. Many investors lost their life savings that weekend. The Dow didn't recover until 1954. That's how close the U.S. economy came to a real collapse, and how vulnerable it is to another one.