There were discussions whether the United States would default on payments owed on its treasury and other obligations as a result of failure to raise the debt ceiling. If this happened, there would have been negative affects including the rise of interest rates.
There is a bigger problem. Our country has already lessened its influence on the rest of the world. Through our inability to address the self-made debt ceiling crisis we have demonstrated we cannot be relied on to act in a rational manner. New countries evolving in the middle east are wondering if our system of governance can work in the 21st century. We are forcing other world leaders to hedge their bets and not assume the United States will always do the right thing. The rest of the world is beginning to wonder if we have a "deficit of leadership". We do and the deficit is in both political parties.
There is a quiet revolution going on in this country. It is a revolution against a government that was "of the people, by the people and for the people". These beliefs, as expressed by Abraham Lincoln are being displaced by our politicians who are caving into the desire for personal fortune and power being provided by large corporations and political funding organizations controlled by these large corporations. This is all being done under the liberated laws of "campaign financing" and if it is not stopped our country will continue its fall into this abyss.
A prime example is our President. He feels perfectly comfortable railing on the evils of big banks and wall street that are choking free markets on the same day that he has scheduled a $40,000 per plate fund raising dinner with the executives of these companies. No one who is sane really believes that he can remain independent in thought when he is deciding how best to regulate these companies. While he is getting rich and gaining power, he is losing the respect of the people.
The good news for him is his opposition is doing the same thing. Some would say they even had a head start.