Blink Or Go Broke

The budget battle nears the bottom line: bankruptcy

In the Washington version of budget brinkmanship, the stakes range from the health of the world's largest economy and the strength of its armed forces to the fate of a college student's grant. All that and more were put at risk last week, when the capital's political gamblers -- the President and the Democratic leaders of Congress -- allowed the nation to bump up against the threat of bankruptcy.

With only 17 hours to spare, Congress passed and George Bush signed a bill lifting the U.S. debt ceiling to $3.12 trillion, thus averting a default. Granted authority to draw on an...

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