Last Thursday we attempted a rough estimation of how much the Treasury has been dipping, or as it is also known "disinvesting", into the G-fund and the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF). Courtesy of Stone Mountain, we now have a definitive number. Even we did not realize how bad it is: in a nutshell, since the debt ceiling breach in mid May, Tim Geithner has replaced one IOU (that of the Fed) with another (that of the Treasury) in the G Fund to the tune of $57 billion, and in the CSRDF of about $22 billion. In other words, retirement funds have seen a "disinvestment" of nearly $80 billion in the past 3 weeks just to make space for further funding of bloated government, defense spending, and healthcare benefits. But don't worry: Tim promises it shall all be well.
From Stone McCarthy:
Treasury's release this afternoon of its Monthly Statement of Public Debt provides more insight into how much of those options Treasury has tapped so far. The following chart shows non-marketable securities held by the CSRDF each month since April of last year.
In May, those holdings declined $21.8 billion. Non-marketable holdings by the CSDRF are volatile on a monthly basis, but that decline is larger than average. In reality, there isn't that much mystery about the room created by redeeming securities held by the CSDRF. Treasury Secretary Geithner made it pretty clear when he announced on May 16 that he was declaring a Debt Issuance Suspension Period (DISP) for about 2 1/2 months -- from May 16 to August 2. The amount of room created by redeeming securities held by the CSDRF depends on the length of the DISP. In a nutshell, Treasury can create -- upfront -- about $6 billion per month of the DISP, plus a little bit more related to the suspension of new investments by the CSDRF.
The change in the balance of securities held by the Thrift Savings Fund was more telling. This fund is also known as the "G-Fund;" it's one investment fund available to federal employees who participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which is a defined contribution retirement plan available to federal employees.
The balance in the G-fund was $73.3 billion as of May 31, down $56.0 billion from the end of April. As our next chart shows, the pattern is for the balance in the G-fund to drift higher. Over the last year, the G-fund balance increased by about $1.1 billion each month. If we assume that would have occurred in absence of debt ceiling actions, then we can assume that Treasury suspended investing about $57.0 billion of G-fund securities in order to create room under the debt limit.
And people were angry when they seized Irish pensions...