The partial government shutdown is the topic of discussion for many, but there's another problem on the horizon that could have even more severe consequences on the American people. Erin Connolly has more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As we continue to deal with the effects of a partial government shutdown, some say hitting the debt ceiling is a much scarier prospect.
"The repercussions of a government shutdown are a bunch of small programs get cut. It's like a bunch a bunch of paper cuts. The debt ceiling is like a bullet wound," said Siena College economics professor Aaron Pacitti.
The debt ceiling is the legal limit the United States is allowed to borrow and right now, it's at $16.7 trillion. If the ceiling isn't raised by the October 17th deadline, the government could start defaulting on its loans. That would be a first for the history books.
"If the United States doesn't have the ability to pay its bills or defaults or pays them late, the rest of the world will look at us with different eyes," said Steven Bouchey of Bouchey Financial Group.
And besides hurting our reputation abroad, many believe this could trigger a variety of economic problems, including a financial crisis.
Pacitti said, "Interest rates would go up so businesses couldn't borrow money to meet payroll. Consumers couldn't buy money to buy a car or add on to a new house and you'd see the economy just shrivel up because that credit supply that's normally provided by both the financial sector and government would disappear."
And while lawmakers in Washington continue to negotiate, in the next few weeks, there is certainly a lot on the line.
"Both democrats and republicans make valid points in what they're looking for and want. Both have good and bad that go along with this process. What we hope will happen is they come together and do what's good for the American people and resolve this issue," Bouchey said.
You'll remember in 2011, the U.S. nearly reached a point of default. The delay in raising the debt ceiling resulted in volatile financial markets and the first ever downgrade in the United States credit rating.