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What’s worse: A government shutdown or a failure to raise the debt limit? A shutdown sounds more serious, but failing to raise the debt limit would mean the first U.S. government debt default in history, with all the complications that brings.

“The federal government would have to significantly cut back spending, [which] would probably mean delaying about $80 billion in payments due November 1 to Social Security recipients, veterans, and active-duty military for as long as two weeks,” writes Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, in a new report.

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