Republicans Pushing To Count GSE Debt Toward Statutory Debt Limit May Be Surprised To Find Real Debt-To-GDP Ratio Is 130%, And That Greece Is Amateur Hour

Tyler Durden's picture

A new proposal by House Republicans, lead by Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.), is seeking to address changes to Fannie and Freddie accounting, along the lines of what has been previously proposed by Zero Hedge, and to not only include the GSE's losses as part of the Federal budget, but to also count the debt from the two mortgage zombies toward the nation's total statutory debt limit. As we stated previously, it is only semantics at this point which distinguish the GSE obligations from other Treasury obligations. Yet it is not just us, but the administration's very own Peter Orzsag who was pushing for consolidated GSE accounting two years ago. Yet with GSE debt most recently at $6.3 trillion, or about half of the existing Treasury debt, this would mean total US debt would not only explode by 50% overnight, but the recently  increased debt ceiling would be immediately breached and America would find itself in technical default (where it really is right now for all technical purposes).

Dow Jones has more:

A memo written by Garrett's office, which was released Monday, states that "now that the federal government has explicitly backed the operations of the GSEs, there should no longer be a distinction between their debt ... and the debt issued by the Department of the Treasury."

The proposed legislation highlights the current uncertainty surrounding the two firms, which have been under government control since September 2008. Federal officials were expected to provide some guidance as to their future plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the fiscal 2011 budget released earlier this month, but that information wasn't included.

The Office of Management and Budget, which compiles the White House's annual budget request, did acknowledge in the budget the different ways the government currently accounts for the two firms. The Congressional Budget Office accounts for the two firms "on budget," treating them like any other federal agency. OMB, meanwhile, treats them "off budget," considering them to be private companies.

As we observed some time ago, "It would seem a little presumptuous that an amount representing more
than half of the total US sovereign debt is conveniently swept under
the rug." Luckily, there are people like Garrett to remind Obama and his henchmen that not every person in America is a zombified purchasing cretin with 10 credit cards and a limitless Centurion in the mail, who couldn't care less about America's sovereign default until 3 days after the fact. Oh, and Garrett's action also means that should his proposal be enacted (slim chance, with such WallStreet-based enablers as Summers and, ironically, Orzsag, the ultimate decision makers), then the US Debt/GDP just shot up from under 90% to over 130%. Which it really is currently, for all intents and purposes. Except, of course, for the saving grace of the dictionary entry for what "full faith and credit" of a bankrupt country really means. Pop quiz: what is the full faith and credit of a bankrupt entity?

And just in case you were confused, and have yet to recognzie the idiocy of the OMB, and the ruling class in general, here is a paper written in 2002, in which authors Joseph Stiglitz (a Nobel winner no less), and Jonathan and Peter Orzsag, whose opinions rotate by 180 degrees more often than a magnetic needle above true north, claim the following OMB-referential piece of unparalleled garbage:

Interestingly, however, the Office of Management and Budget tested Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s capital adequacy in the early 1990s by subjecting their business activities to a ten-year stress test that simulated the financial and economic conditions of the Great Depression. The test showed that if a Depression lasted ten years, given 1990 levels of capital, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had sufficient capital to survive. This result led OMB to conclude that in the event of a severe nationwide economic downturn, the probability of either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac defaulting would be “close to zero.” This implies that if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold sufficient capital to withstand the riskbased capital scenario, they would likely fare well under any conceivable economic environment.

Ah, the OMB, which less than 10 years ago said the probability of a GSE default was close to zero. With such lunatics in charge of making the decision of whether the GSEs should or should not be considered Treasury debt, can we please just fast forward 10 years to the post nuclear war holocaust already. The constant barrage of daily bullshit is really getting tiring.


h/t Adam

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bugs_'s picture

Those waskally webpublicans!!

colonial's picture

very funny bugs...i may use this myself one day as i live inside the silly circle

Hansel's picture

Barney Frank?  Is that you?

jeff montanye's picture

how similar is 1990 to 2008 vis a vis the stress test?  but, and i never thought i would say it (hard core obama campaigner) thank whomever for the wascally wepublicans.  because they actually are an opposition party (as opposed to those incurably cowardly democrats).  even as obama copies bush in all but atmospherics, they oppose him.  audit the damn fed.  count fannie and freddie bailout to infinity in the debt.  nominate ron paul.  buy gold miners. 

MsCreant's picture

So are all of the countries going to race against each other now to get all their debt out in the open? Lets see who is worse off? Put the cards on the table?

[I can't believe I am gonna post this]

Noah Vail's picture

I can judge how bad things are getting by how much profanity Tyler uses. Lies are now bullshit. I'm awaiting the next escallation with trepidation, Ty.

knukles's picture

The more cards on the table, the bigger the all in, so to speak.  The worst it looks the easier for His Majesty and Con-cronies to solve the crisis through higher taxes, wealth confiscation, inflation and redistributive policies. 

Home run!  Never let a crisis go to waste!

Isn't the Axis-of-Evil a cult from DC? 

macfly's picture

ain't that the truth!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"The worst it looks the easier for His Majesty and Con-cronies to solve the crisis through higher taxes, wealth confiscation, inflation and redistributive policies." 

This is a truth most people will find hard to swallow. They expect all politicians and other so-called "leaders" to obscure facts and figures to keep people in the dark. But when the objective is great social and economic change and they need the masses to be in general agreement with their nefarious plans, the powers that be need it to look so bad, so absolutely catastrophic, that the great unwashed will plead with their leaders to enslave them and strip them of their freedom and wealth for their own good, if only the leaders would keep the wolves from the door.

Of course, we all know who the wolves really are but that's far too complicated a concept for the average conditioned mind to comprehend. Freedom and wealth = bad. Lowered standard of living, involuntary servitude and grand theft = good. Please turn the TV back on master, pleaseeeee.

Clinteastwood's picture

Your comment is a bit too elitist for me.  The discipline of psychology tends to elitism with one of it's basic underlying assumptions; viz., examine the psychology behind behavior because that individual isn't capable of acting out of free will.  The psychologist has free will though, you betcha; that's why s/he is here---to tell you how/why your mind is/isn't working right.

Shameful's picture

Remember these are not all the cards.  This is a "slow"ante up to the table to show the black holes of debt each big enough to swallow the planet.  Each country is just slowly peaking out.  I'm reminded of an old joke.

A man was walking down the street in Moscow and saw another man walking casually wearing a grave shroud.  Thinking it strange, he went over to him and asked "Why are you wearing a grave shroud?"

"I'm wearing this because we have started a nuclear war with the United States and will all be dead soon.  I'm going to the graveyard to die there"

"Why are you walking, why not run there?"

"I don't want to cause a panic"

The missles are already in the air, they just don't want to let the peopel know.

masterinchancery's picture

only a selective peek at the hole cards--could be very deceptive!

jeff montanye's picture

like the joke.  my favorite though is the pun of each country peaking out of its black hole of debt.

Going Down's picture


"So are all of the countries going to race against each other now?"


When I look at the US, I think it would be a very good thing if Washington included all its liabilities in future budgets, up to and including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, FHLB and FHA, since that would provide a much clearer (dare I say honest?) picture of where the country stands. It would also be murder on the dollar. Curiously (for many), the US is not the only party that wants the trillions in mortgage losses off the American books. Germany wants the exact same thing, something all these experts seem to be completely oblivious to.

We have entered the beggar-thy-neighbor phase of the downfall, the race to the bottom is on for currencies. Obama's ludicrous call to double US exports in 5 years fits that same idea. The one viable way left to soften the fall is to entice other countries to buy your products, because that's the only money you don't have to borrow. But you can't achieve that goal with a strong currency. China knows that all too well and keeps the renminbi pegged to the USD. Everything they own is denominated in dollars anyway. But if Germany gets its way, the Chinese currency will rise with the dollar, until the latter is on par with the Euro (it’s €1 to $1.36 today). Once that is done, Germany hopes to once again be the world's largest exporter....

This is not a fight for a meal of kings, this is a down and dirty scramble about the scraps off the table.


aus_punter's picture

"When I look at the US, I think it would be a very good thing if Washington included all its liabilities in future budgets, up to and including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, FHLB and FHA, since that would provide a much clearer (dare I say honest?) picture of where the country stands. It would also be murder on the dollar."


Do you think the forex market has ignored this up until now ?


Anonymous's picture

I bet on US

mouser98's picture

technically, its not default until you miss a payment right?  and that won't happen as long as the printing press still works... oh you assumed payment in something other than green TP...

Anonymous's picture

Stiglitz, I didn't know you kept up with ZH!!

D.M. Ryan's picture

It's similar to a Parliament. Tricks of that sort are pulled frequently in parliaments to embarrass the government, although the shenanigans tend to be confined to Question Periods.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

I hate these guys.  Orzog is as weaselly as Geiththththner, and he has a brother?  jeesh.  Stieglitz is too comfortable (and he, like Volker, is the "voice of reason"????).  FNM and FRE will be the undoing of America.  That was the plan all along.  Thank Rubin, Summers, and Greenspan, not to mention BS and lil Timmy.  Oh and note that not only is Obama drinking the kool aide, so did republican's Dubya and Paulson.  There is no spoon!  Just like their are no "sides".  No left, no right.  Only right, and wrong.  They are wrong, and on purpose, for if they bring America (doelarr) to it's knees, they have the world, and if they have the world then they can run it.  They want power over all things.  Also, I think anyone who wins a nobel should be suspect from the get go.

The most interesting thing for me is how will China et al respond to these blatant manipulations from the West?  We now know they will no longer be the largest purchaser of bonds, but will they continue to engage with the US in financial war?  I say WW III is on and popping, got gold?

Anonymous's picture

They will continue to be the largest [indirect] purchaser of bonds, as that ensures the status quo. The alternative is a weaker dollar, diminished exports and hundreds of millions hungry and unhappy Chinese.

Your gold hoarding ambitions will also fall flat on their face. Gold prices will be suppressed in a concerted sovereign effort, lest you prefer to buy gold instead of clip coupons. Even if you're right and we actually get to a point where you would actually have use for gold, then you still won't be able to enjoy the rewards of your brilliant foresight because you will be afraid to show/tell you have gold.

Keep it real.

macfly's picture

you nailed my concern about Au, the shops and gas stations don't take it if you have coins, and if its paper (ETF,mining stocks etc) it can vanish along with the institution that holds it.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

trading is not the matter the matter is value.  unless the earth gets hit by solar flares then Visa will rule the day.  and silver btw for gas, historical references aside.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

"Diminish exports"?  To whome will they sell their WallyWorld crap  to?  Americans have no money to purchase anything with.  "Hundreds of millions"......and they are chinesse.  good.  "we have too many people anyway" is what ;merica will say when faced with the fact that jobs are never coming back....The devil's advocate, and he will be causing a ruckus in the US in just a year or so.  Gold is undervalued right now.  That is all I am saying.

PenGun's picture

 Ten minutes after the credit cards go down gold will be happily accepted by many for food, guns and ammo. A 0.00 g scale is like $15 eh'.

thebark's picture

are you really THAT impossibly stupid??...when the SHTF EVERYTHING will be supressed...  but dont think for a second that "exchange" centers or stores wont pop up to convert your gold into you can buy any god damn thing you want.

I have a great hold on to your US dollars!!...I`ll take my gold...and dont worry...I wont be showing or telling....and I`ll have a little extra ammo in case someone wonders why Im not getting skinny.

jeff montanye's picture

like geiththththner.  he's episcopalian you know (incendiary comment).

faustian bargain's picture

I wonder how much we're going to hear about this proposal in the news.

john_connor's picture

I think we need to get the populist fervor going again.  It was going strong up to the Mass. senate election and then everyone kind of quieted down after O announced the Volcker rule proposal.

We need to be relentless in calling our representatives and educating friends and family about the sad state of affairs.

Its time to vote nearly everyone out, and it will take a tremendous effort to do so.

spekulatn's picture

Vote out all the bastards.

Love it, Sir Connor. 

ghostfaceinvestah's picture

Voting out Dems to vote in Rhinos, or vice versa, won't make a damn bit of difference.  Vote for third party candidates, anyone, doesn't matter.

A bipartisan jobs bill cleared a GOP filibuster on Monday with critical momentum provided by the Senate's newest Republican, Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

Cistercian's picture

Yes.It is high time to remove all incumbents.They have to go.


masterinchancery's picture

By-- by all democrats AND Rinos, let the chips fall where they may. These criminals have bankrupted the country.

john_connor's picture

Voting Brown in was a must in order to destroy the filibuster proof majority.  In that context, and considering what is currently at stake, the Mass. senatorial election was the most important thing to happen in this formerly democratic republic in a long time.

In short, we must crawl before we walk, walk before we run, etc.

Otherwise I agree, nearly all Dems and Repubs should be replaced by third party candidates.

jesus's picture

Actually, it seems to have had the opposite effect, which is maybe why the Dems fielded such a joke of a candidate. When they had the 60 majority they couldn't accomplish anything at all. Now that they have 59 it is very easy to employ parliamentary methods to get simple majority votes (ala Healthcare reconciliation).

john_connor's picture

thats hilarious.  We would already have a bill passed if it weren't for Brown.   Not to mention we would be staring down the barrel of cap and trade.

reconciliation is just another tool in the legislative process.

jesus's picture

They had basically two years to pass anything they wanted. What did they do with it? Nothing but bicker and bullshit, along with Republicrat approved measures like bank blowjobs. The Dems can be counted on to be utterly worthless when in power.


BoeingSpaceliner797's picture

Otherwise I agree, nearly all Dems and Repubs should be replaced by third party candidates.

Therein lies the dilemma facing we the people.  I agree with your viewpoint quoted above.  However, once this viewpoint reaches critical mass with the electorate, you can expect TPTB to coopt and corrupt third party candidates as well.  Just look at the Tea Party movement.  At almost the precise instant it gained momentum it was coopted by the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Tom Trancedo, et al. 

So, the trick is for, somehow, the electorate to reach this critical mass/momentum without it attracting any attention whatsoever from TPTB.  But this implies that critical mass can be achieved without getting the word out.  

Perhaps the only way out of this quagmire for us is a fail of epic proportions.  But what awaits us on the other side of the epic fail?

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

There aren't many, but Paul wins straw-poll ("do you have any [electability] sir?"  I will never forget that moment) and Kucinich is awesome.  I am also smelling ventura in the mix (Secretary of Defense?).  Merkley is a new favorite, and I have to shout out to Defazio!  anyone stepping into the ring I hope considers no afiliation to either party.  this will be refreshing.  any way these true ladies and gentlemen go about politics, I hope they all get together and start the 3rd party, it is long overdue.

Ron Paul answers question at Debate:

jeff montanye's picture

don't get too hysterical.  obama seemed like a whole 'nother business as a candidate.  something about being elected, i guess.  possibly because he's so much older (and he's thought about it longer), ron paul may have a greater chance of translating his platform into reality, especially as much of it is able to be done via executive decision (or at least the part of his platform that i like, tee hee as my older sister says).

milbank's picture

I assume by "vote nearly everyone out" you mean "and vote the other guys in" as the solution.

You're by definition, insane Connor.  How many times do you have to do that before you start to catch on to what's behind the curtain when it comes to "elections" and "choice"?

john_connor's picture

Milbank, please don't patronize me you dumbass.  Of course this is no longer a real democracy.  Perhaps you have another solution aside from voting in an independent candidate?  Maybe we should just not vote?  Please expand on an idea rather than pick apart sentences based on your preconceived assumptions.

milbank's picture

"Vote nearly everyone out" is your solution?  Wouldn't that be a waste of time if "Of course this is no longer a real democracy." 

"This" never was a "real democracy."

I realize this is telling a child there is no Santa Claus but, that's the way it is and has been since the beginning of the country.

My solution?  Nothing.  There are things I can change and things I can't change. I trade stocks.  I make a shitload of money.  I live well and I'm doing fine.

Am I patronizing your childish rants again?

You betcha.

Grow up boy.  You're wasting ZH's bandwidth.

jeff montanye's picture

you underestimate the times in which you live.  depressions, especially deflationary depressions, are the furnaces in which radical political change is forged.

milbank's picture

You don't say! 

Give me an example.

jeff montanye's picture

the closest comparison to our time is the 1930's which, in the english speaking world, for the first time in history, established a regime of recognized and powerful labor unions; regulation of the financial sector to avoid excessive leverage and a variety of frauds; national pensions and relief; and the (ultimate) defeat of a global fascist attempt to conquer the world.  it was in all the newspapers.  one might say but things aren't that different now.  and one might reply oh but once they were.