Answers to Your Debt Limit and Default Questions

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  • 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. 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?

Q. How Close Is the Nation to the Limit?

A. The national debt reached the limit in May. Since then, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has made accounting moves to continue financing the government without further borrowing. Those measures will be exhausted by Oct. 17. After that, the government will have to pay all its bills from its estimated $30 billion cash on hand and tax revenue, which Lew says is not enough.

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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