Should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling and default on its payments, the results could be "cataclysmic," Moody's Analytics economists Mark Zandi and Bernard Yaros wrote in a report set to be released Tuesday, per The Washington Post.
Zandi and Yaros predict that, in a worst-case scenario of a prolonged debt ceiling breach, the American economy would plunge into an immediate recession comparable to the 2008 financial crisis. That could include a loss of 6 million jobs, a surge to 9 percent unemployment, and the dissipation of as much as $15 trillion in household wealth. It would also mean the Treasury will have to make choices such as whether to fail to pay seniors $20 billion their owed on Social Security or fail to pay bondholders of U.S. debt, which would "undermine faith in U.S. credit and permanently drive federal borrowing costs higher," the Post writes. And it's likely that at least some of the damage would be permanent, even if the impasse is resolved.
Both Republicans and Democrats agree the ceiling should be raised, and the odds remain high that it will ultimately happen, but the two sides just can't agree on how they'll do it. The GOP wants Democrats to go it alone and include the action in their $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, while Democrats think it should require a bipartisan vote since Republican measures are also part of the reason why the lift is needed. Right now, the debt ceiling remains a "political pawn," and even the uncertainity from the current debate could deflate business investment and cost the U.S. a fair amount of jobs, which is what happened during debt battles during the Obama administration, the Post notes. Read more at The Washington Post.