What one tiny little loan to the U.S. government shows us about the debt ceiling : Planet Money We make a loan to the U.S. government, and it does not go the way we thought it would. Plus: the story of that one time the U.S. defaulted. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Day of the debt

Day of the debt

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1058529788/1059097354" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Planet Money's Treasury Bill Kenny Malone hide caption

toggle caption
Kenny Malone

Planet Money's Treasury Bill

Kenny Malone

The U.S. borrows money constantly. And its reputation as a borrower is rock-solid. If you loan the U.S. government money, you feel very, very sure that you're going to get it back. But what happens when that reliable reputation is called into question, even a little bit?

With a debt ceiling deadline bearing down, we make a loan to the U.S. government. We buy our own tiny slice of government debt. And then something happens that we really didn't see coming. That story, plus the story of a $12 billion mistake.

Music: "It's Starting Up" and "Rubbery Bounce" and "Avenue A"

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify; and NPR One.

Want economics stories from the comfort of home? Subscribe to Planet Money's weekly newsletter.