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3 On Your Side: How U.S. Default Could Affect Consumers

(credit: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images)

(credit: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images)

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As lawmakers in Washington D.C. continue to argue about the federal budget and raising the government debt ceiling, you may be wondering what effect a government default may have on you. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan explains.

It’s important to point out that if Congress doesn’t come to some sort of agreement and the government did default on it’s debt that it would be the first time in our nation’s history.

Most financial experts still see this as being highly unlikely, some give it less than a one percent chance of happening.

But if it did, Bryn Mawr Trust Senior Vice President Chip Cobb says, “We absolutely have a possibility of watching the consumer interest rates be greatly affected.”

Cobb believes that a national default would have a trickle down effect on the interest consumers pay in a variety of ways.

He says, “Whether its a mortgage rate, whether it’s car payments, anything that’s consumer driven, credit cards, anything, that has a direct impact to you on your writing a check can absolutely have an impact on watching that go up.”

Stocks have been down recently as U.S. markets registered their nervousness over the Washington gridlock between President Obama and Republicans.

So Cobb has this advice for anyone with stock investments or a 401K: “You need to hold on tight, stay the course. The irony is that we could wake up two weeks from now and it will be no different from where we are right now.”

Meanwhile the political posturing continues. The President says he can’t guarantee that Social Security checks and payments to veterans and the disabled will go out on schedule if a deal isn’t reached by next Tuesday.

Republicans have accused him of using scare tactics.

As this all unfolds, voters aren’t keeping quiet. House offices are experiencing a spike in telephone calls, receiving 35,000 per hour.

Reported By: Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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