How A Ratings Downgrade Would Affect American Life

07/27/2011 09:49 am ET | Updated Sep 26, 2011

This is not yet one of those stuff-your-money-in-a-mattress moments.

Still, the talk in Washington of a federal budget crisis and possible default has given rise to all sorts of consumer fears of doomsday scenarios. Missed Social Security payments. Spikes in interest rates. Draconian cuts in government services.

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