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The True Cost of an Extended US Debt-Ceiling Standoff

Recurring struggles over the borrowing limit undermine the status of the US as an economic superpower.

relates to The True Cost of an Extended US Debt-Ceiling Standoff
Photo Illustration: Daniel Zender for Bloomberg Businessweek; Photo: Getty Images

America’s sway over the world economy is being eroded by self-inflicted policy wounds, with a dangerous standoff over the debt ceiling putting renewed scrutiny on the dollar’s preeminent status in global trade and finance.

A behind-the-curve Federal Reserve struggling to corral inflation, a string of bank failures and now a political deadlock over the government’s ability to borrow are chipping away at US authority. At the same time, geopolitical fault lines are hardening, with the US assisting Ukraine in its war against Russia and locked in competition with China, two adversaries poised to exploit any misstep by policymakers in Washington—such as a first-ever US debt default.