Stop The Presses: The Fed Can Fund The Treasury With Over Half A Trillion In Emergency Capital

Tyler Durden's picture

By now some readers may have read ludicrous stories about the Fed coining multi-trillion precious metal coins in a way to loophole the debt ceiling situation. Granted, this plan is so far beyond ridiculous that we have not wasted the time to comment on it. That, however, does not mean that the Fed is powerless to assist the Treasury in a modestly long-term term fix of the debt ceiling fiasco. In fact, as Stone McCarthy's Raymond Stone observes: "The Fed does not want to be a player in this debt ceiling/potential default debate. It didn't want to be a player in the Bear Stearns debacle, or the Lehman situation. But when push comes to shove the Fed will do what it can to avoid a default." In summary there are three avenues that the Fed can pursue in order to help Tim Geithner prolong the cash illusion modestly longer. The three options for Bernanke are to i) book profits; ii) prepay expenses and, yes, iii) sell gold. Combined, these three approaches could squeeze out well over half a trillion dollars, giving the Treasury breathing room not only past August 2, but potentially into 2012! That said, "The Fed would not want to advertise to Congress the possibility of delaying default. It does not want to take Congress off the hook on increasing the debt ceiling." But it will, if it has to, and the end result will be a delay potentially of up to a month. And if it means selling off the Fed's gold, so be it.

The three plans in detail from Stone McCarthy:

Book Profits


The Fed holds roundly $2.6 trln in the System Open Market Account (SOMA). Some of these securities were purchased at a time when market interest rates were substantially above current levels. This subset of SOMA represents securities on which the Fed has unrealised profits. Prior to the onset of the crisis the Fed held roundly $160 bln of Treasuries with maturities in excess of 5 years. These securities have accrued substantial unrealized profits

The Fed could sell some of these securities, book the profits, and then repatriate those profits to the Treasury. If desired, the Fed could reinvest the par value of those securities back into newer Treasuries to maintain the par value of its holdings.


Prepay Expenses


Every week the Fed repatriates its profits to the Treasury. The weekly profits of the Fed largely represent the weekly accrued interest income from the Fed's SOMA, minus interest expense, operating expenses and accrued dividends.

In 2010 the Fed repatriated $79.3 bln of profits to the Treasury. Effectively the accrual of monies to be paid to the Treasury shows up in an expense account (liability) Interest on Federal Reserve Notes (IOFRN). When the payment is actually made to the Treasury each Wednesday, the IOFRN liability on the Fed's balance sheet is reduced and the Treasury deposit account at the Fed is increased by a similar amount.



Over the first 6 months of calendar year 2011 the Fed remitted $46.1 bln to the Treasury, up from $35.3 bln in the comparable period of 2010. In other words, in 2011 the Fed's repatriated profits to the Treasury have been on track to bypass the $79.3 bln of 2010.


Could the Fed prepay IOFRN to the Treasury? In other words, could the Fed pass along profits before the income is actually accrued on the Fed's books? We think the answer is yes, but are not certain. Effectively this would be similar to prepaying any other Fed expense, such as payrolls, rents, etc.


This transaction would effectively reduce the IOFRN liability into negative territory, while increasing the Treasury's deposit by a similar amount. One liability goes down and another goes up.




The Treasury holds 261,498,899.316 troy ounces of Gold with a book value of $11.041 bln at $42.22/oz. The Treasury has monetarized this gold by issuing to the Federal Reserve gold certificates in an equal amount ($11.041 bln). The monetarization of gold effectively was an accounting entry providing an increase in Fed assets (gold certificates) and an associated increase in the Treasury's cash deposit at the Federal Reserve.


The $42.22/oz official price of gold was last set in 1973. Given that gold is trading above $1,600/oz could the Treasury prevail upon Congress to increase the official price? Would Congress respond under the Gold Reserve Act of 1934? If the official price were reset to $84.44/oz (doubled) the Treasury's deposit at the Fed would rise by $11.041 bln.


The Treasury could elect to de-monetarize gold, taking back the gold certificates from the Fed, and having its cash position reduced by $11.041 bln. After de-monetarizing gold the Treasury could presumably sell gold on the open market. Undoubtedly, such sales would drive the price of gold down from over $1,600/oz, but presumably the Treasury would be able to get a good deal more than the current official rate of $42.22 oz.

So there you have it: combined across all there alternatives, the Fed could probably generate over half a trillion in emergency cash, which would last the country well into next year! So perhaps everyone should immediately forget the relentless lies and fearmongering from Tim Geithner (who could not possible see a US downgrade from AAA as recently as three months ago, which is now imminent) and force the Fed to actually help the one entity that it is supposed to help: the United States, instead of the likes of Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan.

Yes, in the process the Fed's barbarous relic "tradition" will be sold off and the market price will plunge, only to subsequently explode to record highs (although we expect that gold would be then be confiscated from the broader population), but at least in the process this will allow the politicians to finally resolve the long-term problems of this country in whole, instead of the proposed partial resolutions that do nothing but at best slow the rate of debt accumulation.

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Dakota Thunder's picture

Sell Gold? 

How can you sell tradition?

I was told tradition is not money.

NotApplicable's picture

Well, they have to de-monetize it first...

Long-John-Silver's picture

I'm confused. If Ben says Gold is not money, why must it be de-monetized before it's sold for money?  /sarc

saulysw's picture

An excellent question! I hope Ron Paul get's a chance to ask him that. I'd love to see him squirm while trying to think of an answer. The more Ben talks about it, the more he digs a hole for himself.

bankrupt JPM buy silver's picture

Ya, they will sell the kind of gold that Fausto and Juan Jose de Elhuyar found.

sqz's picture

Also, "Prepay expenses" looks like a wonderful transfer pricing accounting fudge (turn profits into expenses - normally for the purpose of tax avoidance via regulatory arbitrage)! But I doubt anyone will notice ...

saulysw's picture

Mesmerizing avatar. Took me a moment to see the small blue circle.

Long-John-Silver's picture

You don't trust your government?

MissCellany's picture

Doubt they'll be able to sell tungsten at $1600 a troy ounce...

CompassionateFascist's picture

Inasmuch as die Luftwaffe cannot currently hit NY, they can steal Germany's. Or replace it with an IOU.

Strider52's picture

Sell our countries' gold?? Why don't we just cut off our dick while we're at it?

RevCBH's picture

Please observe the distinction between "our country" and "our government". The latter is the one in possession of the gold, which it shamelessly and blatantly stole from the former. Furthermore, the government is not really ours anymore, if it ever was.

If US GovCorp wants to sell gold at rock bottom prices, I'll be more than happy to scoop some up and secure it somewhere it can't be stolen so easily this time around.

karzai_luver's picture

sorry child, if you or any of your critters voted then you endorsed the "country" as it is.

You are just another of the great merican that can't even take responsibilty for your own actions.

Fraud and criminality your own friend.


yipcarl's picture

You are obviously an idiot or have no idea how the system works.  Do you know the word...PATSY?  Yea well one is put up on the Dem side and one is put up on the Rep side.  That's it pal, that's your 'vote'.  you can shove it up your arse, your vote.  This country is no democracy OPEN YOU EYES. 

CompassionateFascist's picture

Actually, the TP'ers are - so far - doing exactly as they were instructed to do by their voters: stiff the System. Also, you ingnorant fuck, it's (supposed to be) a Republic. Not a "democracy".

iDealMeat's picture

Cool..  I'll hop in my truck and head over to Ft. Knox for the sale...

Back er on up.. 

Frankie Carbone's picture

I don't think gold-plated tungsten is going for $1,600 an ounce bro. 

DCFusor's picture

Hey, even tungsten is worth more than $42/oz!  But who says they bothered with that charade, anyway?  If you're going to lie....why bother. 

azengrcat's picture

I guess you did not get the memo about QEZimbabwe

redpill's picture

They won't sell the gold, but regardless they can keep this charade going indefinitely. The August 2nd deadline was always an artificial tactic to press the Republicans into compromise prior to the 2012 election cycle heating up.

Calmyourself's picture

They will keep it going for years as they continue to use the MSM and "education" system to inculcate the masses to control, theirs of course

Caviar Emptor's picture

I can help! I can help! 

And it won't even cost ya much....

unky's picture

the fed would never sell gold to the public.

either 1.) they dont have the gold anymore and it just gold-plated tungsten anyway

or 2.) they just default so be it, but never sell the real stuff

malikai's picture

It would be sold to the treasury, who then puts it on the crimex or whatever. Don't forget, that gold would be purchased by the kleptocrats after major takedowns shake confidence, giving them a great entry. It would make for a good prize just before the big reset. I would expect similar of other state assets like SPR again, land, resource rights, etc.

I think this tells us we should expect a good old IMF bang-up job. It worked so well everywhere else, why not here?

trav7777's picture

the Crimex is not a gold warehouse for gold miners to shop their wares, dude.  It's a cash-settlement futures exchange.

If the UST sells gold, another sovereign with a large reserve account of $ would buy it

Mec-sick-o's picture

We have an unnecesary large reserve in $.   It would be nice to add some Ft. Knox Centenarios as diversification to our reserves.

malikai's picture

You're right. Probably not crimex. The point being it will be bid on in a market somewhere. Probably a closed market consisting of PDs, Soverigns, the like. Similar to how the SPR was done.

AladdinSaneGirl's picture

There are seriously clever people in Obama's administration eg Steven Chu, i bet they do have a plan like this behind them. Sell emergency gold supplies, like they just did oil. Uh-huh.

In the long term, both gonna go thru roof i guess.

Id fight Gandhi's picture

There's always a way these guys can get money to keep the rich rich!

The public will suffer, but the elite will be just fine.

TSA Thug's picture

There is nothing wrong with a little suffrage. It build character and makes you appreciate the American Dream.


--You WILL Obey!

Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

Dear Mr. Thug,

suffrage is the right to vote

suffering is just left of pain

succotash is a meal we should get used to

TSA Thug's picture

Who axed for you're help. Dummy. I not might be good at spelling but I'm much better at identifying out of control suspects spewing grammar tits.

Alienated Serf's picture

your username must actually be a description of yourself, not some sarcastic bit.  suffrage?  really?

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Hyperinflation, bitchez!

The real question is, 'does the Federal Reserve have any gold to sell?'  And nevermind it being tungsten, my specific question:  'have they not leased it all already?'

baby_BLYTHE's picture

the FED admitted during Ron Paul's Monetary Committee hearings that they hold no physical gold. 

That's not to say the Treasury wouldn't hand over its holdings to the FED in an emergency...

FeralSerf's picture

Maybe Treasury could sell the gold to the Fed?  Just another multibillion $$ accounting entry and voila more money!

That way they could get around inspections and such.

Stax Edwards's picture

Vic has gone AWOL....we need Vic!!!

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

The Treasurie holds no gold; the Federal Reserve Bank holds gold on their books as being in the  i)  NYFED  ii) Fort Knox.  They hold 14k tonnes on their books.  The use the gold as loans to increase their reserves, and then use the reserves on loan to increase their assets, in the fractional reserve sense of the word.

tip e. canoe's picture

'does the Federal Reserve have any gold to sell?'

sure they do, the Germans'...

Caviar Emptor's picture

Fed selling gold is a China wet dream

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Just like the SPR release, it will be JPM doing the buying.

trav7777's picture

yeah the clan that took over the nation of Germany post-weimar still had access to credit from their banker cousins.

So will it be with JPM.  Their debt ceiling isn't breached.

Missiondweller's picture

Maybe we can tell them what they so often tell us, "stay out of our business"

karzai_luver's picture

maybe you can accept that you owe them money and take it like a man instead of a crying deadbeat.

If you can't stand it then don't go begging bitch.


DonnieD's picture

Appalling is running your own citizens over with tanks.

karzai_luver's picture

Appalling is running over other countrys citizens  with tanks, like you had the guts even for that.

Appalling is killing other countries citizens that you have not even declared war on.

stuff your outrage where the sun don't shine.