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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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Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:18 | Link to Comment deadhead
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.

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:37 | Link to Comment Unscarred
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:


Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:19 | Link to Comment GoldSilverDoc
GoldSilverDoc's picture

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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:34 | Link to Comment Rollerball
Rollerball's picture

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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 21:34 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:40 | Link to Comment Zippyin Annapolis
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..

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:44 | Link to Comment geopol
geopol's picture

a possible government shutdown..

When do we start?

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 21:53 | Link to Comment ShankyS
ShankyS's picture

I wasn't sure they were open?

Wed, 12/02/2009 - 14:33 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:49 | Link to Comment Michael
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.

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:02 | Link to Comment Art Vandelay
Art Vandelay's picture

Way to stay on topic there, jackass.

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:06 | Link to Comment geopol
geopol's picture

Way to stay on topic there, jackass.

Hey Mike,

Are you going to put up with that??

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:44 | Link to Comment Michael
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.

Wed, 12/02/2009 - 01:58 | Link to Comment SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

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

Wed, 12/02/2009 - 08:13 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:50 | Link to Comment Hephasteus
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.

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 20:07 | Link to Comment VegasBD
VegasBD's picture

Clever. I like it.

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:54 | Link to Comment geopol
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?

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:12 | Link to Comment geopol
geopol's picture

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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 21:56 | Link to Comment SayTabserb
SayTabserb's picture

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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:03 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:18 | Link to Comment Rainman
Rainman's picture

We are a country of loopholes and disguise gimmicks.

Badges ?? We don need no stinking badges !!

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:20 | Link to Comment Cursive
Cursive's picture

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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:35 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 12/01/2009 - 22:23 | Link to Comment Argos
Argos's picture

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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:59 | Link to Comment Charles Mackay
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?

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 20:12 | Link to Comment Rainman
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.

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 21:58 | Link to Comment SayTabserb
SayTabserb's picture

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

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:58 | Link to Comment ghostfaceinvestah
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.

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 20:15 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 12/01/2009 - 20:23 | Link to Comment putbuyer
putbuyer's picture


Tue, 12/01/2009 - 23:02 | Link to Comment pezhead
pezhead's picture

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

Wed, 12/02/2009 - 03:38 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Thu, 12/03/2009 - 04:20 | Link to Comment Hephasteus
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.

Fri, 12/04/2009 - 00:25 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!