World’s Strangest

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What If The US Government Paid Off Its Entire Debt?

The idea might seem laughable now, but 11 years ago, when the US was running a budget surplus, the government did a secret study to find out what would happen if it paid off its entire debt. The study’s conclusion? Paying off [...]

That Time in 1979 When the U.S. Government Defaulted

© Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool/Corbis As the Congressional debate over the debt ceiling rages on this week, more analysts are raising the question of what would happen if the country defaults on U.S. Treasury bonds. For finance types, the notion of the U.S. government defaulting is nearly unthinkable; Treasury securities are considered to be effectively risk-free. Murmurs that [...]