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US default would be 'worse than Lehman': S&P executive

Matt Hunter, News Editor
September 15, 2008, the day the 150-year-old Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.
Keith Lew | Flickr Vision | Getty Images

How destructive would the failure of the United States to pay interest on already accumulated debt be? John Chambers, chairman of the sovereign ratings committee at Standard and Poor's, has a grim answer.

"It would be worse than Lehman Brothers in my judgment," Chambers told Charlie Rose on CBS News. "And it would be needless," he said.

Chambers also noted the absurdity of the conundrum in which Congress has placed itself.

"The spending has already been approved, but now the elected officials are balking at funding that spending," he said.

The last time the US came close to default, S&P stripped the country of its AAA rating.

Watch the full interview here.

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