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US Debt At $16,699,396,000,000 – For 112 Days?

From CNS News:

Treasury: Debt Up $0 in August; CBO: But Deficit Was $146B

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 9, 2013

(CNSNews.com) – The federal deficit increased by $146 billion in August, according to a report released today by the Congressional Budget Office. But, at the same time, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt did not increase at all during the month.

Total federal receipts were $185 billion during August, according to the CBO, while total federal outlays were $331 billion. Thus, the Treasury was forced to engage in $146 billion in deficit spending.

Despite this deficit spending, the Treasury reported that at the close of every single business day in August, the federal debt subject to a legal limit by Congress remained exactly $16,699,396,000,000.

That is approximately just $25 million below the legal limit on the debt that is $16,699,421,095,673.60.

If the federal debt had climbed by the same $146 billion that the deficit climbed in August, it would have exceeded the legal limit by almost $146 billion.

In fact, according to the Daily Treasury Statements that the Treasury publishes at 4:00 p.m. on each business day, the debt subject to the legal limit has remained at exactly $16,699,396,000,000–or about $25 million below the legal limit–every day since May 17.

With the release of the Daily Treasury Statement for Sept. 6 (which occurred at 4:00 p.m on Sept. 9), that makes 112 days that, according to the U.S. Treasury, the debt has been stuck at $16,699,396,000,000.

The CBO reported today said that in addition to a $146 billion deficit in August, the Treasury also ran a $98 billion deficit in July, and that in the first eleven months of fiscal 2013 (October through August) the federal government has run a cumulative $753 billion deficit.

Back on May 17–when the Treasury said the debt first hit $16,699,396,000,000–Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent House Speaker John Boehner a letter indicating that the Treasury would begin using “extraordinary measures” to allow the government to continue borrowing money without exceeding the legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60.

“In total, the extraordinary measures currently available free up approximately $260 billion in headroom under the limit, as described below,” said an appendix to Lew’s letter.

Among the “extraordinary measures” Lew said he could take to create this “headroom” under the debt limit were: 1) not investing new money from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF) in U.S. Treasury securities, which he said would create $6.4 billion in “headroom” per month, 2) not reinvesting $58 billion in Treasury Securities held by the CSRDF that would be maturing and not reinvesting $16 billion in interest owed to the fund, which would create $74 billion in headroom, 3) suspending the routine daily reinvestment of $160 billion in special Treasury securities held by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan, which would create another $160 billion in headroom, and 4) suspending the routine daily reinvestment of Treasury securities held by the government’s own Exchange Stabilization Fund, which would create another $23 billion in headroom.

So all of these  “extraordinary measures” have been able to keep the deficit from going up a measly $25 million in 112 days? And they are so precise they are managing to keep the debt at exactly the same amount, give or take a million dollars? We find that a little hard to believe.

In fact, a cynical person might wonder if Obama has ordered that the number just be frozen in order to keep from exceeding the debt ceiling limit. That is, it could be yet another way he has found to bypass Congress via an ‘executive action.’ — But if the administration is fudging this number, what other numbers might they be fudging?

On Aug. 26, Lew sent Boehner another letter stating: "Based on our latest estimates, extraordinary measures are projected to be exhausted in the middle of October."

Between now and then, Congress will need to approve legislation to fund the government past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, decide whether to permit Obamacare funding in that legislation, and decide whether to authorize President Obama to use military force in Syria.

During that time, if Lew’s prediction to Boehner is correct, the Treasury will be able to use "extraordinary measures" to keep the federal debt from rising even as little as $25 million.

If these "extraordinary measures" are so effective at keeping the debt from growing, then maybe they should do them all the time.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “US Debt At $16,699,396,000,000 – For 112 Days?”

  1. mr_bill

    Why not just make it zero? It ceases to have meaning when they lie about the numbers. While they’re at it, they can stop lying about unemployment and make that zero, too. Job creation numbers, make them 305,000,000 so everybody now “has a job” at least according to the government numbers. That ought to make nerobama look really good, after all, that’s what the government’s job is these days.

  2. Petronius

    The US government has the exclusive right to fudge economic data for political purposes.

    And Nerobama’s regime has been freely exercising that right.

    Apparently, however, in this case it has done so by underfunding and diverting money from the civil service pension system, including also the employees’ Thrift Savings Plan –– both of which include the private money contributed by the employees from their paychecks, similar to a 401k sponsored by a private company.

    Such diversion of employees’ money, if done by the CFO of a private sector company, would be a felony punishable by up to 20 years in the penitentiary.

    Embezzlement: The fraudulent use, disposal, or concealment of any personal property received for another person, or by virtue of one’s office, trust, or employment, or which has been entrusted to him.

    • You would think the government unions would be up in arms over such skulldugery. Where is the outrage? (rhetorical)

    • heykev

      This is probably the ONLY thing he learned while an Illinois Senator. Underfunding liabilities and diverting monies is something Illinois’ Democrat controlled state (house, senate, gov) excels at.

  3. Enthalpy

    That Timothy, Hank, Corzine and all of the banking boards remain above room temperature is astounding, Is it possible that someone will ever begin to take notice?




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