GeithnerLast week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned Congress that unless it raises the debt ceiling, the U.S. will default on its debt. That, he said, would have "catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades."
Geithner's grim forecast -- echoed by the White House's top economic adviser -- helped set off something of a panic in Washington. Some Republicans, concerned about spending, have said they'll resist raising the ceiling, with one predicting a "big showdown" next month, just before the federal government is scheduled to hit the current limit of $14.3 trillion.
But in recent days, some commentators have suggested that the hand-wringing over the debt ceiling -- the amount of debt the federal government can legally carry -- is badly misplaced. If the ceiling weren't raised, they say, the government would still have numerous options short of defaulting on its Treasury debt.Read More »from Some commentators now say everyone should chill about debt ceiling