Total US Debt Hits $14.195 Trillion, $99 Billion Away From Debt Ceiling; Treasury Revises Breach Date To As Soon As April 15

Tyler Durden's picture

Now that all auctions from last week have settled, the real debt picture has emerged: as of February 28, total US debt was $14,194,764,339,462.64 (a settlement change of $57 billion on the day alone). As a reminder, the total debt limit is $14.24 trillion, or $100 billion away. Purists will interject that the total debt includes $52 billion in debt that is not subject to the debt limit, so in reality the total remaining capacity is $151 billion, although should total debt pass the ceiling, with or without the technicality, it will be pretty much game over. What is quite relevant is that the winddown of the SLF program is halfway completed, as otherwise the US would be in breach of the debt ceiling right now. Since there is another $95 billion outstanding on the SLF, which with the lack of any Treasury auctions in the coming week, has allowed the Treasury to issue an updated debt limit breach projection:"Today, Mary Miller, Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued the following update regarding the projected dates by which the United States will reach the statutory debt limit:  “The Treasury Department now estimates that the United States will reach the debt limit between April 15, 2011 and May 31, 2011." Previously the projected breach range was expected to occur 10 days earlier. In other words, the Treasury is once again panicking, and sending the ball over to the Hill, to make sure politicians add another $1.5 trillion to the debt ceiling, which however, with $2 trillion in total issuance in 2011 will need to be raised just after the end of the new year.

And should Congress not cooperate, here is a list we have compiled previously on many occassions (and which will come back to haunt us again and again), this time coming from Reuters, highlighting all the different options before the Treasury to delay the inevitable debt target, er, ceiling breach.


Treasury could cut issuance of longer-term government debt and rely more
heavily on short-term cash management bills to gain more day-to-day
control over debt outstanding. Cash management bills are typically
issued for days instead of normal Treasury bill maturities of four weeks
to one year. However, officials are likely to be wary of making any
major shifts in the Treasury's debt issuance calendar, which could upset


Treasury could suspend sales of State and Local Government Series
securities, known as "slugs," which are special low interest-bearing
Treasury securities offered to local governments and other tax-exempt
entities for the investment of municipal bond-issue proceeds. Slugs,
which count against the debt limit, were last halted in September 2007
to avoid hitting the ceiling then. So far in fiscal 2011, which began on
Oct. 1, the Treasury has sold $39.6 billion in slugs to muni bond


it has in the past, the Treasury could suspend payments to the Civil
Service Retirement and Disability Fund, a government employee pension
fund. The government has recently been contributing an average of $5.8
billion to this fund per month. It would be required to replace any
missed contributions and lost earnings. Based on Aug. 31 data, the GAO
estimates that these moves could add up to $7.7 billion in borrowing


The Treasury could
dip into this seldom-used $50 billion fund earmarked to stabilize
currency rates. Created during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the
fund was last used as a backstop to guarantee money market mutual funds
during the worst part of the financial crisis from September 2008 to
September 2009. The GAO study estimated that this could increase
borrowing capacity by $20.4 billion.


To free up cash, the Treasury can halt reinvestment of another federal
employee pension fund known as the G-Fund, which had net assets of about
$125 billion at the end of 2010 invested in special short-term Treasury
securities with maturities of one to four days. Normally, maturing
assets in the G-Fund are reinvested daily. But the Treasury has
statutory authority to retain a portion of the fund, as long as it
provides proper notification and reimbursement for any lost earnings
from the move. Such a move could temporarily claw back $122.3 billion in
borrowing capacity.


Federal Financing Bank can issue up to $15 billion in debt on behalf of
other government agencies that is not subject to the debt limit. So the
Treasury could exchange FFB debt for other debt to reduce the total
amount subject to the limit. However, based on Aug. 31 data, the GAO
said it had just $4.8 billion in remaining borrowing capacity.


The government could raise money by selling off chunks of companies it
bailed out under its $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.
However, Treasury officials do not want to consider this as an option,
saying accelerated sales would not be beneficial to taxpayers,
particularly done amid market turmoil.

Still, the Treasury is
planning a stock offering in insurance giant American International
Group Inc this spring that is expected to top $15 billion.
The government owns 1.66 billion AIG common shares now worth around
$66.4 billion and other AIG assets valued at $20 billion.

Tuesday, the Treasury said it was selling trust preferred securities in
Ally Financial Inc received as part of the government's bailout of the
auto and home lender, formerly General Motors Acceptance Corp. It holds
about $2.7 billion worth but would not say how much it was selling.

All proceeds will go to the government.

The Treasury also anticipates IPOs this year in automaker Chrysler
Holdings. It can resume selling General Motors shares after
a lock-up agreement expires in May.

In addition, the Treasury
owns $155.7 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities bought from
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the
financial crisis. But dumping a huge chunk of mortgage bonds onto the
market could cause mortgage rates to spike higher, hurting an already
fragile housing market.


Treasury also could stave off its debt limit reckoning if tax receipts
come in higher than expected due to stronger economic growth. Receipts
in the first four months of fiscal 2011 were up 9.0 percent -- a $65
billion increase -- versus the year-earlier period. Outlays in the same
period were up $53 billion, or 5 percent. Stronger economic growth,
increased employment and a rising stock market would produce more
income, reducing the need to fund government operations with debt.

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Bastiat's picture

Maybe we can make it by April 1?

bankrupt JPM buy silver's picture

everything is A-okay here...Ben told us that if they cant raise the debt ceiling, a catastrophic financial catastrophe is headed or way.  If that didnt spell out QE3, I dont know what did.  Gold up to the moon shortly after that, whats up?

Nobody special's picture

Yes Ben did say that.  If you recall, last time the ceiling was raised, they also created extra room just so they wouldn't have to raise it so often.

This debt is like the actions of a small child.  First they start walking and you have to put the low hanging valuables higher for fear of breakage.  Pretty soon we're going to have to put anything of worth on the top shelf, lest the small child (gov't) break it.

Nikao7's picture

Like a top shelf wealth preservation....possibly gold?  If only I had some wealth to preserve;)

bigelkhorn's picture

Bully fulltard ben wouldnt know inflation if it came up and bit him on undercarrage of the scrotum. Sheeesh. Have a look at the CRB index. 

I cannot beleive what is happening at the moment, but I think the libya crisis will get worse, and send crude up skyhigh. The FFT guys, who called this have a big launch for an ebook they are releasing next week called "THE U.S. SECRET HIDDEN TREASURE MAP!" 

Looks VERY intresting. Their prelaunch page is over at :-

ElvisDog's picture

So why will this be a problem again? Haven't we seen enough proof already that TPTB simply ignore laws when they find them inconvenient. What is to stop them from simply continuing to issue debt after the debt limit is breached?

cougar_w's picture

I googled that exact question and without looking hard found the following explanation:

"Treasury is not authorized to issue new debt and could be forced to delay payments for government services or operations until funding is available and could eventually be forced to default on legal debt obligations...Analysts and observers -- including former congressional staff -- expressed concern that a miscalculation in when the debt limit needs to be increased by could trigger a financial crisis in the Treasury market."

Referenced from the following GAO report dated Feb'11:

... discussed/summarized at HuffPo:



ElvisDog's picture

Right, that's what the law says, and if they followed the laws it would be a problem. But nothing is really stopping them from continuing to issue debt. When the government is in charge of enforcing or abiding by the laws, it's really up to them whether they do it or not.

NotApplicable's picture

Since all of the listed 'solutions' are tiny as compared to the size of the problem, I'd expect that at some point, they will get the idea to start removing the 'subject to the debt limit' classification from some large chunk(s) of debt.

Problem solved.

ISEEIT's picture

Well, what if all Americans pitched in and sent in their 2010 tax returns early? If all patriotic citizens were to provide their 'fair' share early, could 'catastraphe' be avoided for at least a few weeks?

We must band together to save our government.

This is a time to sacrifice, a time to fight the good fight.

Watch the King's speech if you are an unpatriotic skeptic.

Then think again.

Only a friggin' racist would allow our own very first African American president to go down holding the bag!

We must unite!

StychoKiller's picture

OTOH, They COULD cut spending (yeah, a total non-starter!) :>(

dick cheneys ghost's picture

lets get these corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. report says you have more money in your pocket than bank of america pays in taxes.





pslater's picture

Corporations don't pay taxes, they collect them for the govt.  Lower corp taxes = lower product prices, greater corp spending, and......wait for it.......more jobs!  Shrink the size of the effin' govt!  We have a spending problem not a revenue problem.

RKDS's picture

More jobs?  You're either on drugs or in China.  Take your pick.

f16hoser's picture

Actually, 20 Trillion if you add in Fannie/Freddie. Even higher with unfunded liabilities.

Too Many Secrets! (Sneakers)

Cash_is_Trash's picture

Let's punt the can down the road.

trollin4sukrz's picture

trade you 2 of these here deer hides for that pan of chicken gizzards..

AZSovreign's picture

Really wish there was a way to implode the system right this minute....

trollin4sukrz's picture

have patience knockerz, cant be too long now.

AZSovreign's picture

Well I am getting bored stacking my PM's on each mammary gland.

trollin4sukrz's picture

maybe go back down to the docks, I hear the Navy is in town.. maybe make nuff for a couple more eagles.

buzzsaw99's picture

This is an outrage! I demand an investigation!

cowdiddly's picture

You mean we will set up a nonpartisan commision to study the problem.......................................................

Dexter Morgan's picture

I think their main plan is the last one....HOPE.

cossack55's picture

Well, since we are currently living in a "house" with no walls, why the hell do we need a ceiling?  Just raise it to $500 trillion and spend away.

Sarah Conner's picture

No balanced budget amendment... No committment to a debt ceiling... Fiat currency... enough said.

Judge Judy Scheinlok's picture

Seriously my cossack nigga. GS gives Chinese special interests first dibs on a FacebookFag IPO so they don't sell(just yet), and the "free markets" are funneling billions to oil producers via a speculation tax on crude so they can buy US debt.

The Mystery Theater Show is over.

trollin4sukrz's picture

good.. i hate fagbook n e way. looser central dudes..sheet

BobPaulson's picture

How will it differ from previous breaches?

cougar_w's picture

It will differ in being higher. That's all. They can do this until Hell freezes over.

fragrantdingleberry's picture

Reagan proved that deficits don't matter and Bernanke will prove that the dollar doesn't matter

ISEEIT's picture

I (respectfully of course) find that statement fucking ignorant. Debt to GNP is the important figure. I grew up practicing the correct response to a global nuclear war.

Get under the desk and put your hands behind your fucking head.

Now that might have been a problem, I'll concede. But as modern reality makes clear the fight between good and evil is as real as someone you love dying:

And just as likely to be ignored until it is to late.

If we still had the debt to GNP ratio that we endured under Reagan?

Everything would be fine.

I'll give you that the trend/trajectory has been a disaster. Hell, I'll even give you that the political left has been successful in blaming Reagan for the mess we are in today.

From that point though it is difficult to follow to where we stand (fall) today without implicating the political left.

Clinton what?

That should shut your ass up.

It's bankers asshole.

And they have bought the fucking machine.

You want some 'progressivism'?

Pretty fucking confident that game has already been bought.

Grow the fuck up and get constitutional.

Racer's picture

And this staggering amount of debt is backed by what?

trollin4sukrz's picture

federal Parks, federal forests, taxes on u n me, your house, all the PMs and water, toll roads n bridges, farmland, your car if you own one, the kid's toys, your toys, all the revenue from the Nevada hookers, power plants and dams..You know.. stuff?

Racer's picture

 a promise to pay from IOUs that are diminishing every second?

Big Ben's picture

And this staggering amount of debt is backed by what?

Benny and the InkJets.

Since the $0.6T QE2 program has been so successful, why not just extend it into a $1.5T/year QE3 program which would completely cover the deficit and save us from all this bother?

cougar_w's picture

Backed by a promise to pay ... wait for it ... in dollars.

Sweet racket they have going, isn't it?

the rookie cynic's picture

The debt ceiling is a mirage. Look at the unfunded liabilities in SS, Medicare, and Medicaid, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not to mention everyone's off balance sheet shit. Debt ceiling is like the CPI, just a smoke screen behind which all sorts of nastiness is perpetrated on the people.

cougar_w's picture

The more I think about it the more all this starts to look like an end-game strategy.

Nobody is going to pay. Not a dime. So it doesn't matter. We're stinging the marks along hoping they'll stay at the table, but when they leave we fold up the tent anyway.

I mean what are they going to do about it ... declare war or something futile like that?

XPolemic's picture

I mean what are they going to do about it ... declare war or something futile like that?


Good question, but in theory, nobody has to declare war on the US, on the contrary, the US will need to wage endless war for access to resources.

If the Ponzi scheme were to collapse, the dollar would be dumped or written off, oil and other commodities would then be re-priced in some other convertible, and the exchange rate of US dollars to that new convertible would be prohibitively expensive for the US to buy foreign oil, so then the US would have the choice to either survive on domestic production, or invade Mexico, Canada, All Middle Eastern/North African countries in that order, and hold them against all defenders/attackers.

War is expensive, either in dollars or casualties, and if the US could not afford expensive weapons technology, they would need to put more bodies on the ground in their Empire, which would be very bloody, and meet with strong domestic opposition, which would need to be suppressed with a repressive, authoritarian and violent police state, which would cause intellectual capital to flee, leaving the US with no manufacturing, no high-tech industry, no financial industry and no future.

You know when the Roman Empire collapsed it was still the pre-eminent military power in the world right? It was just spread so thin, in so many regions, containing so many problems that it could not bring full force to bear on any given enemy (they also had financial problems that came from debasing the coinage and inflation).


DaveyJones's picture

good post. An army is not an economy, its a drag on one 

snowball777's picture

a) When Rome collapsed, it's pre-eminent military power was in the form of hired (hence the debasement) foreign mercenaries, not Romans.

b) If what you say is true, then why is there still a country called Germany?


XPolemic's picture

a) When Rome collapsed, it's pre-eminent military power was in the form of hired (hence the debasement) foreign mercenaries, not Romans.

Like how the US Army is made up of latinos and other second generation Americans (and poor people, who join for a job).

b) If what you say is true, then why is there still a country called Germany?

The modern German state was formed in 1871, nearly 100 years after the Declaration of Independence in the US, so it is relatively a young country, and it too may adopt an idiotic economic/political philosophy like Randism in the future and go through a(nother) period of economic turmoil.

But nowhere in my original post did I say that the United States would cease to exist as a country, just that it would go through an economic collapse. What I do contend though is that an economic collapse would bring an end to the American Empire

Tric's picture

It's amusing to watch all of these games that have to be played just to make interest payments on the existing debt. 

FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

Who in their crazy mind would lend $14.195 trillion dollars to a dead in the water nation like the 'Was good at one point, but is now bad" old-US-of-A"?

Oh that's right, someone who prints money out of fresh air (the privately owned central banks of the world), knows that they will never get their principal back, but is happy to take real assets (houses, land, gold, tax on peoples labors, etc) in return until that country is totally pillaged.

You are slaves and you have owners, and still you do nothing. Those brave peasants in the middle-east are the ones with the balls...



trollin4sukrz's picture

too bad these slaves in good ole slavery central have mach 4 projectiles. might be a bad headache in the making

Rainman's picture

Haha....the Critters are celebrating a $4 billion "cut" embedded in a two week budget extension. I do believe that the Critters believe that we all believe $4B is a lot of money anymore. Otherwise, their behavior cannot be explained.

Waterfallsparkles's picture

Tax receipts will kill them.  Even with the jobs numbers there are more and more people working part time instead of full time.  The people who have found employment are working for a lot less that before they got layed off.

They totally ignore their full employment mandate, yet that hurts their income and the payment of the debt and interest on the debt.  You also have many that are taking early retirement which cost the Government money and deprives them of taxes on earned income.

I watched Bernanke today and he was so proud of the Market going up but he has failed to see that the average American does not have a job.  How will the debt he is creating and the interest on that debt be paid without jobs.  Obviously the Wall Street people are not going to make up the difference.

In my opinion his focus is in the wrong place.