In light of the epic fiasco from last August, when the US debt ceiling hike became a 2 month televized affair, culminating with the GOP caving, but not before the S&P downgraded the US (and in the process breaking the US stock market), Zero Hedge has long been analyzing the chronology of future debt breaches, as with the presidential election in November, what happens in the months and weeks ahead of it as pertains to the number one problem facing America - its lethal debt addiction - will be by far the biggest weakness of Obama's campaign. This is something we believe the GOP has finally understood, and they want a full replay of last August's insanity, to remind America just how broke (and broken) this country is. Yet it turns out all of our analyses have been for naught (if 100% correct). Because it is none other than President Barack Obama who has been kind enough to point out, that on September 30, 2012, or in just over 7 months, total US debt subject to the limit will be, wait for it, $16,333,900,000,000. Why is this an issue: because the final debt ceiling that Obama has been afforded with automatic Senatorial roll overs (even as Congress theatrically votes these down), is $16,394,000,000. In other words, with two months ahead of the election, the US will have a de minimis $60 billion in debt capacity. And since the implied burn rate is $133 billion/month this means that the United States will be in full blown debt ceiling hike chaos just as the final electoral debates take place. And one wonders why the GOP rushed to green light Obama an additional $160 billion in debt issuance. If indeed the $160 billion in new debt is added, the US may not even last to September before Tim Geithner is forced to start plundering G-fund and other retirement accounts. It also means that two months of America in a debt ceiling breach situation will deal a dramatic blow to Obama's reelection chances as the last thing the US population will want is a replay of last summer.
From the Analytical Perspectives Section of the President's Budget (source). One word: OOPS
As a reminder, here is what we said on the topic of the GOP's increasingly more interesting gambit yesterday.
Two weeks ago when discussing the latest lunacy surrounding America's exponential curve #1 also known as its debt balance, we suggested what the GOP election strategy should be: "[if] the debt ceiling becomes a sticking point at the election, Obama's chances of reelection plunge. Which makes us wonder - will Republicans grasp that the paradox of defeating Obama is precisely in giving him a carte blanche on all the stimulus programs he wants? Because if Congress approves another $200, 300 or even $400 billion in stimulus pork (the only thing better than one Solyndra? One thousand Solyndras!) the Treasury will drown in the need to raise hundreds of billions more, and will in fact hit the ceiling well in advance of the elections. As for the stimulus projects themselves, they will crash and burn just like all centrally planned endeavors, and actually result in a far worse outcome than if they had never been attempted. [Because] the best way to finally get back to a fiscally prudent regime? Why go to town, of course." We were delighted to discover that our policy anti-recommendation has finally been adopted. Because as the WSJ reports when it comes to the latest payroll tax extension we find something quite stunning: "House Republican leaders said Monday they would introduce a bill extending the payroll-tax break for the rest of the year without finding spending cuts to offset the program's cost. The proposal marks a major shift for Republicans, who previously had insisted that the costs of extending a trio of provisions expiring at the end of the month be offset with spending cuts." That's right - no offsetting spending cuts. Which means one thing - much more debt. How much more? At least $160 billion much. Which means that the debt ceiling discussion will hit not in November as we speculated previously, but potentially as soon as September.
It also means that by the time the GOP candidate is debating Obama the primary topic of discussion will be just how much the Administration is plundering from government retirement and pension accounts to keep the country under the latest and greatest (and just upwardly revised) $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.
And some more color in this most critical matter from none other than former Obama's economic advisor, Peter Orszag courtesy of Bloomberg:
Table 6-2 shows that even with a somewhat sunny outlook for economic growth this year, the amount of government debt that is applicable to the debt limit is projected to reach, by the end of September, $16.3 trillion. The debt-limit itself currently stands at $16.4 trillion. So by next January, if not sooner, we will again be debating a debt-limit increase -- at the same time that significant spending reductions and tax-cut expirations are scheduled to take effect. The journey through this fiscal maze next year will make last summer’s debt-limit debate look like child’s play.
Spot on Peter, only it won't be next January. It will be this September. If not sooner.