What do you do when you don't have enough money? Get more debt!
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government will carry out another accounting maneuver to avoid breaching the $7.4 trillion ceiling on the national debt, Treasury Secretary John Snow said Tuesday.
The step marks the latest move by Treasury to free up billions of dollars - on paper - so the government can keep paying its bills. Treasury is doing this because it is running out of room in its statutory authority to borrow.
In a letter to Congress, Snow said the department, starting Wednesday, will suspend new investments in Treasury securities that would be credited to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.
"Beneficiaries will be fully protected and will suffer no adverse consequences," Snow wrote. The government would make up lost investments and interest payments once the government's borrowing authority has been boosted.
The accounting maneuver would free up around $4 billion, a Treasury spokeswoman said. She didn't know how long it would allow the government to keep paying its bills. The administration used this same account juggling in 2003 when it was dealing with a previous debt limit problem....
...Congress returned Tuesday for a lame-duck session, with the hope of completing work on various spending bills and raising the debt ceiling.
A $800 billion increase in borrowing - which would mark the third boost in the debt limit in three years - is expected to be approved. The Senate is slated to vote Thursday, with the timing of House action unclear.
I would like to try this myself. I think we should all contact our credit card companies, and tell them that we plan to do a little spending.
R: "Please raise my limit to $2.5 million, Mr. Bank of America."
BOA: "And has your income increased?"
R: "No, but I really want more stuff."
BOA: "And how do you plan to pay your bill each month? You can barely afford the minimum payment now?"
R: "My grandkids will pay it?"
BOA: "We can't approve that, it would be fiscally irresponsible."
R: "Why do you hate the American Economy!?!"
(BOA sighs and hangs up the phone)
Maybe I should have started at $1 million.