October 20, 2021

How worried should we be if the debt ceiling isn’t lifted?

The debt limit caps the total amount of allowable outstanding U.S. federal debt. The U.S. hit that limit on August 1, 2021, but the Department of the Treasury has been undertaking a set of “extraordinary measures” so that the debt limit does not yet bind. The Treasury estimates that by October 18th, those measures will not be sufficient—unless Congress raises or suspends the debt limit before then, the Federal government will lack the cash to pay all its obligations.

The economic effects of such an unprecedented event would surely be negative. However, there is an enormous amount of uncertainty surrounding the speed and magnitude of the damage the U.S. economy will incur if the U.S. government is unable to pay all its bills for a time—it depends on how long the situation lasts, how it is managed, and the extent to which investors alter their views about the safety of…

Read full article here: www.brookings.edu