The soaring United States debt -- about $15.6 trillion -- is financed through the sale of Treasury securities, and these enormous offerings make the U.S. dollar the go-to currency for governments, businesses and investors who need to store reserves with the utmost safety. But the debt cannot continue growing forever, or borrowing costs will deprive the government of money it needs for other purposes. Economists and policy makers -- from right and left -- agree on that.
So, just how solid are Treasury bonds, long considered a "riskless" investment? Is a default possible? Desirable? Unthinkable? And what are the options for reducing the annual government deficits that cause the debt to grow?
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