The debt ceiling, as described by 'The West Wing'

This final note today. One of our producers suggested over the weekend that, y'know, had Washington been able to get this whole debt thing solved by last night, it would have been like pretty much every episode of The West Wing. That, of course, didn't happen.

But while we do pretty well at getting complicated economic policy questions into short, easy-to-understand stories, ain't nobody does it like Aaron Sorkin.

Toby Ziegler: Yeah, y'know, the immediate collapse of the U.S. economy, followed by Japan sinking into the sea, followed by a worldwide depression -- the likes of which no mortal can imagine -- followed by week two.

Annabeth Schott: So this debt ceiling thing is routine or the end of the world?

Ziegler: Both.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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