To allow for more flexible funding of World War I, the U.S. government enacted its first debt ceiling in 1917. Economist James Galbraith takes us through the history of the normally uncontroversial procedure. Galbraith is a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.
Standard & Poor's, a big ratings agency, is getting nervous about the United States' ability to pay its debt.The agency lowered its outlook for the U.S. to negative this morning. That's essentially a warning.It means that the U.S. is still a super-safe country to lend money to, in S&P's view.
On January 8th, 1835, all the big political names in Washington gathered to celebrate what President Andrew Jackson had just accomplished. A senator rose to make the big announcement: "Gentlemen....the national debt.... is PAID."That was the one moment in U.S.
Icelanders go to the polls this weekend to decide whether to pay the debts of a failed bank. Planet Money's David Kestenbaum is in Reykjavik, and he spoke with Renee Montagne.For more: Read our post, "Should I Pay For Bankers' Mistakes?" Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.