Treasury strives to avoid U.S. debt default

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner attends the first session of the G-20 Financial Ministers and Central Governors meeting in Gyeongju, South Korea.

JEREMY HOBSON: Well the U.S. government hits its self-imposed $14.3 trillion debt limit today. That's the point at which Congress can't borrow any more to pay the bills.

Now, as Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports, it's up to some creative accounting by the Treasury Secretary to avoid a default.


MITCHELL HARTMAN: The Treasury will now shuffle money around in federal accounts and delay pension contributions to keep paying bills. The real default deadline is in early August. In the mean time, Congress and the president are sparring over budget cuts and tax increases to deduce long-term debt, while allowing more borrowing short term, says Jan Randolph at IHS Global Insight.

JAN RANDOLPH: The idea of lurching from one legistlative crisis to another is not a way to manage your budget -- anyone's budget -- let alone a government's budget. So we are looking for more better movement here on the policy.

Randolph says we've been here before.

RANDOLPH: By the way the U.S. has defaulted in its early days to British loans, in fact.

But a U.S. default has occurred in modern economic history.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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