The Debt Ceiling: What Does It Mean?

October 16, 2013 3:18 PM
The Debt Ceiling: What Does It Mean?
" BOSTON (CBS) – The debt ceiling.

We hear about it every day, but do you know what it is and how it affects you?

Read: Mathieu: What Happens At Deadline?

The debt ceiling is set by Congress. It’s the maximum amount of money the federal government can legally borrow to pay for things like Social Security and Medicare, interest on our national debt and tax refunds.

On Thursday, October 17 we’ll reach the debt ceiling. It’s $16.69 trillion.

The U.S. Treasury actually hit that limit in May, but the treasury has been using “extraordinary measures” since then to avoid default. The treasury secretary has said those extraordinary measures will be exhausted October 17.

If the ceiling isn’t raised, the U.S "

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