WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The man who ran the Federal Reserve for 18 years says House Republicans are playing with fire if they don’t find a way to increase the debt ceiling.

Alan Greenspan tells CBS News they are jeopardizing trust in the American economy, and in the U.S. dollar.

And that could have a dangerous psychological impact on global markets.

Investors may feel the U.S. government is unreliable and significantly reduce their purchase of Treasury bonds.

Grading agency Fitch has already warned it may downgrade America’s credit rating from its top AAA status.

Greenspan added forcing the government to pick and choose who to pay could result in a deteriorating quality of life for Americans.

“To whom does it go?” said Greenspan, referring to making interest payments, “China. And what do you don’t pay? Social Security.”

Greenspan told CBS’ Anthony Mason the current political system is not working.

He said this “shock to the system” has so far not cut deeply into the American economy.

But warns it is not wise to test the limits.