I Can Break Your Debt Limit Any Time I Like (But Not Today)

Marla Singer's picture

Those of you shocked to see the official Treasury Direct debt ticker break the statutory debt limit number of $12.104 trillion may have overlooked a clever loophole. See, the debt limit doesn't limit total public debt. It limits the "total public debt (subject to limit)."

While the former figure did indeed finally break the ceiling on 11/30/2009, the latter is still comfortably (sort of) below the statutory limit.

Total Public Debt              11/30/09

Outstanding                  12,113,048
Debt Not Subject to Limit:
Other Debt                          489
Unamortized Discount             42,797
Federal Financing Bank           11,921
Hope Bonds (HAH!)                   492
Other Debt Subject to Limit
Guaranteed Debt of:
Government Agencies                  14
Total Public Debt
Subject to Limit             12,057,363
Statutory Debt Limit         12,104,000

Phew, close one! You can see the details here.  (Who wants to bet on the size of the "Federal Financing Bank"'s balance sheet in a week?)

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deadhead's picture

Hope Bonds (HAH!)

you are such a naughty, naughty....

That line was the bestest that i have read all day.

Thank you Marla.

Unscarred's picture

Somebody looking for Hope?



Or, if you prefer a less optimistic view, I offer a beautiful sonic backdrop matched with wonderfully poetic political commentary:



GoldSilverDoc's picture

Where can I get me some 'a that Federal Financing Bank cash?  I got a Federal I'd like to finance.

Rollerball's picture

Depends on (how) sophists interpret "public", "outstanding", and "nominal" (relative hope).  We plebians know what "bonds" are.


Anonymous's picture

From Mark Twain's, "Roughing It", Chapter 14, Mr. Street "I am a businessman-have always been a businessman-do not know anything but business-and so you can imagine how like being struck by lightning it was to find myself in a country where written contracts were worthless!-that main security,that sheet anchor,that absolute necessity of business. My confidence left me."

Mr. Street had work to be finished before the bonds came due on said work. The sub-contractors decided not to honour the contracts that they had agreed to and signed for said work.

I wondered what Mr. Street would think today about the bondholders of GM and the contracts today?


Zippyin Annapolis's picture

Comes to a head this month--they have to raise the debt ceiling due to fund transfers--there will be a bit of game  end of the month and a possible government shutdown..

geopol's picture

a possible government shutdown..

When do we start?

ShankyS's picture

I wasn't sure they were open?

RockyRacoon's picture

"Your federal government needs your money so that it can perform vital services for you that you would not think up yourself in a million years."     Dave Barry

Michael's picture

Jews and Israelis own a major chunk of the world and are pushers of socialist communitarianism and carbon tax so they can control everyone even more through the US foreign policy they have written and the world central banks they own.

You want the Pravda MSM to cover ClimateGate? Write something like I just did for incitement purposes and you will get wall to wall coverage. I am fed up by the lack of MSM news coverage on Climategate and am about to take out a can of woopass on them. It's just about no holds bared time.

Art Vandelay's picture

Way to stay on topic there, jackass.

geopol's picture

Way to stay on topic there, jackass.

Hey Mike,

Are you going to put up with that??

Michael's picture

Absolutely. That is the exact kind of reaction I am hoping for. First you got to get mad. In no way do I mean to Jew bash, but the way they react to it works for me.

SilverIsKing's picture

Michael, Michael, Michael...can I interest you in a circumcision?

Anonymous's picture

Just out of curiosity, are you referring to the 99.9999999% of jews (the majority of whom are poor) who have nothing to do with finance or banking? Or for the convenience of a little bigotry, are you just lumping them in with the .0000001% who do?

Please don't answer Michael. It's probably better that you slink back to Yahoo! Finance. You're a tad too stupid to be here.

Hephasteus's picture

I'm sending them a 1.5 percent overdraft fee. That just cost you 181 billion 560million dollars. Divided among my fellow 360million debtors. You owe me 504 bucks.

geopol's picture

Debt limit??


Lets get fucking real here!!! Who gives a shit about the debt limit?  This is like tipping a rapist.

So the next compelling issue is?

geopol's picture

Do you always need to use such foul language? The folks here are not amused.

SayTabserb's picture

I am. It's like saying the secret word.

Anonymous's picture

12 trillion? Isn't that nothing if you compare with government obligation plus the medcare and social security obligation? I thought we are in around like 50 or 60 trillion, no?

Rainman's picture

We are a country of loopholes and disguise gimmicks.

Badges ?? We don need no stinking badges !!

Cursive's picture

Why don't we have a hearing to raise the debt ceiling BEFORE the Bernanke confirmation hearings.

Anonymous's picture


put the whole number, or say it's in millions.
as you write it, it down plays the magnitude.
see if I can do it on 2 finger thingy

Argos's picture

Let's all convert to scientific notation for the really big numbers.  It's a lot easier than going metric.

Charles Mackay's picture

I had thought the FFB may have been limited to issuing $15 billion in inter-agency (inside government) debt.  However check this out from their site:

The Bank is authorized to issue obligations to the public in amounts not to exceed $15,000,000 [thousand] with the approval of the Secretary. Additionally, the Bank is authorized to issue obligations in unlimited amounts to the Secretary and, at the discretion of the Secretary, may agree to purchase any such obligations.

The key word here is "unlimited".  Apparently the Treasury Secretary can issue debt at his discretion, which is another way of saying that the Sec can issue what was called in the Civil War era " greenbacks" - that is currency that is effectively the debt of the US. With laws like this, who needs the Fed to print up fiat money?

Rainman's picture

Look to the People's Republik of Kalifornia for Timmy's solution. IOU's are just no-interest payments of tax refunds and other vendor disbursements ........delayed 5 or 6 months.

That should fix it.

SayTabserb's picture

Warrants. Some banks even let you deposit them. By the way, it's Kal-ee-forneeyuh.

ghostfaceinvestah's picture

Would they PLEASE extend that limit already?  It is holding down the value of my gold position.

Imagine gold when the national debt hits $15T by the end of next year.  Whooo, baby.

Anonymous's picture

Honey, lets sell our wedding bands next anniversary and get copper rings instead.

pezhead's picture

Bankers: I love the smell of debt in the morning... Smelled like [sniffing, pondering] victory.

Anonymous's picture

Guess there won't be any bank resolutions this Friday either...

Hephasteus's picture

Have a structured settlement?

Are you a major tax collector? Get cash now.

Call the IMF annuity payment center and recieve a check within 1 week.

We offer wide range of services. Have a huge opium crop coming due but having a hard time protecting it?

Buy the guns and prisons and toture devices you need today with our commercial paper facitlities.

Anonymous's picture

Jooz are at the heart of most of the evil in the world! If the criminal state of Israel attacks Iran, every kike on the planet becomes a legitimate target. Number one way to start solving problems, exterminate jooz once and for all!