That Time in 1979 When the U.S. Government Defaulted

The August deadline for lifting the debt ceiling is looming. Will the US government default on its loans? Has that ever happened before? Yes it has -in 1979.
In the spring of 1979, Congress was in the midst of a similarly heated debate about raising the debt ceiling, Legislators eventually reached a last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling and (they thought) save the day, but something went wrong. The Treasury didn’t redeem $120 million worth of securities that matured in April and May.

In other words, the U.S. Treasury defaulted on its securities even though Congress settled the debt-ceiling issue. What happened? It’s not totally clear.

Here's the short answer: When all else fails, blame the computers. Read a more thorough explanation at mental_floss. Link

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