Obama To Ask For Debt Ceiling Increase In "Matter Of Days"
Not even an hour after we asked the question, The Hill gives us the answer: "The Obama administration will be asking Congress to raise the debt limit in the coming days, White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday. "I'm confident it will be executed in a matter of days, not weeks," he told reporters. The notification by the administration — which had been scheduled for last month — was delayed because Congress has been holding only pro forma sessions. The White House will be asking Congress to raise the U.S. borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion. The move would mark the third and final increase from the debt-ceiling deal reached last year by Congress." Of course, the optics of yet another debt-ceiling increase, even a preapproved one, are simply horrible during campaign season. But such is life. Here is the kicker though: the US has preapproval for $1.2 trillion in debt issuance, as per the August 2011 agreement. So far so good. The problem is that since then the US has issued $900 billion in debt in five short months! In other words, somehow the remaining buffer of just $300 billion, or a final debt ceiling of $15.5 trillion, is supposed to last the US until after the presidential election, because this topic flaring up just before Obama is due to hit the debate circuit will be reelection suicide. So our question is: how will the US, which has a gross debt issuance rate of over $100 billion per month on average, last for a year with just $300 billion in dry powder? And even if the $1.2 trillion count begins from the new request, it still means the new debt ceiling will be breached some time in August/September, as we expected last year when we did the calculation assuming a $180 billion gross issuance per month ($900 billion in 5 months). We can't wait to hear the OMB's explanation.