Debt Ceiling 101: Explainers, Analysis, and Commentary

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The debt ceiling! We've all heard about. Many of us have spoken about it. But what the heck is it? Why does it matter? What can be done about it?

It's A Free Country has all the answers:



For starters, the debt ceiling - what is it? Read our explainer here. Still not too clear? You can hear Dan Gross, columnist and economics editor for Yahoo! Finance explain it to Brian Lehrer here.

The president and Congress are at an impasse, with the Republicans demanding deep spending cuts white refusing to allow any increase in taxes. Its A Free Country breaks down the drama here. Congressional Quarterly senior writer Joseph Schatz discusses the impasse between Congressional Republicans and the White House with Brian here.  

The deadline for decision is over, but it's worth looking back. What were the president's options?  Well, he could've invokek the Constitution. Listen to Jay Wexler, law professor at Boston University, blogger and author of the forthcoming book The Odd Clauses: Understanding the Constitution through Ten of Its Most Curious Provisions, discuss Section 4 of the 14th Amendment with Brian here. Would that really work? How? Here's an explainer.

What would've happened if the U.S. did default on its debts? Senior financial analyst at Greg McBride said it would be bad. Bloomberg columnist, MSNBC analyst and the author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One Jonathan Alter agrees. You can hear him talk to Brian about it here.

On the other hand, maybe it's all much ado about nothing.