Answers to Your Debt Limit and Default Questions

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  • Q. Could President Obama Ignore the Debt Limit?
  • Q. What do Global Investors Thinking, Are they Panicking?
  • Q. What Would Be the Economic Impact?
  • Q. Is the Debacle About an Out-Of-Control Budget Deficit?
  • Q. Why is it Potentially Catastrophic for the Government to Default?
  • Debt Ceiling Dilemma
  • Q. What is the Debt Ceiling?
  • Q. How Close Is the Nation to the Limit?
  • Q. What Will Happen After Oct. 17?
  • Q. When the Government Runs Out of Cash Will It Default?
  • Q. Couldn’t the Government Simply Print More Money?
  • Q. If They Can’t Print More Money, What Else Could Treasury Do?
  • Q. Would Delaying Payments Avoid a Default?

Q. Why Is it Potentially Catastrophic for the Government to Default?

A. In part because the repercussions would be felt worldwide by a global economy that still isn't at full health. Banks in the United States and overseas use Treasurys as collateral when they borrow from each other. If Treasurys were no longer seen as risk-free, it would disrupt borrowing and jolt credit markets. A financial crisis like the one in 2008 could follow.

(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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