CSN News has been covering the Treasury’s magical non-increasing debt, which has remained the exact same since May 17th – $16,699,396,000,000. That amount is $25 million under the legal debt limit, and has increased $0 over the past 112 days. Yet, according to the CBO, the debt racked up over the past 11 months of fiscal 2013 (October through August) amounts to $753B. In August alone the debt increased $146B.
There is some wizardry going on, with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew informing Speaker Boehner that he would begin using “extraordinary measures” to continue to rack up debt and yet not technically pass the legal limit, starting back in May. These measures? Well, basically taking from Peter to pay Paul.
“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 ion 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.
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.”
It’s up to Congress to approve legislation to keep the government running, plus pay for a host of other expenses (I hope they don’t) between now and then, with the fiscal year ending Sept. 30th. Until then these “extraordinary measures” will continue to be used, even though the magic math doesn’t add up, and this is basically one big con on the American people.