Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave Republicans a stern talking-to at the National Press Club Thursday, warning that a failure by Congress to raise the country's debt ceiling would have disastrous effects on the world economy. "Beyond a certain point...the United States would be forced into a position of defaulting on its debt. And the implications of that on our financial system, our fiscal policy and our economy would be catastrophic," Bernanke said. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would force the U.S. to default on its debt and cause interest rates to rise sharply, thus adding to the total debt burden. The Fed chairman coupled his warning with a call for the Obama administration to put together a future plan to curb the deficit.
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