Why is This Topic Important to Wealth Managers? This blogticle discusses the debt limit debate. We present discussion directly from the Administration including the Department of the Treasury. Wealth managers who are following the debt debate discussion will likely be interested in our presentation of insider comments.
As almost the entire world knows at this point, the U.S. reached the debt limit on May 16, 2011. To plug the gap, the Treasury Department has employed three measures to temporarily extend our ability to meet the nation’s obligations. Those measures, in order taken, are (1) suspending issuance of State and Local Government Series (SLGS) Treasury securities; (2) declaring a “debt issuance suspension period” of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF); and (3) suspending reinvestment of the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund).
It is said that these four extraordinary measures allow the Treasury to extend borrowing authority until August 2, 2011. Here’s what Treasury has said about the debt limit over the past few weeks:
7/12 Mary Miller, Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued the following statement reaffirming the projected date on which the United States will exhaust borrowing authority under the statutory debt limit.
“The Treasury Department continues to project that the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority under the debt limit on August 2, 2011. Secretary Geithner urges Congress to avoid the catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis by raising the statutory debt limit in a timely manner.”
7/13 Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner made a brief statement to the press:
There is unanimity in that room that we are a country that meets its obligation, we are a country that pays our bills and that we’ll act and do what’s necessary to make sure that we can maintain that commitment. As the Majority Leader said, we have looked at all available options and we have no way to give Congress more time to solve this problem and we are running out of time.
And the eyes of the country are on us, and the eyes of the world are on us and we need to make sure we stand together and send a definitive signal that we are going to take the steps necessary to avoid default and also take advantage of this opportunity to make some progress in dealing with our long-term fiscal problems. We don’t have much time; it’s time we move.
7/14 The U.S. Department of the Treasury released the following statement from Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Jeffrey Goldstein on the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgrade:
“[This} action by S&P restates what the Obama Administration has said for some time: that Congress must act expeditiously to avoid defaulting on the country's obligations and to enact a credible deficit reduction plan that commands bipartisan support.”
7/15 U.S. Department of the Treasury releases the following statement from Jeffrey Goldstein, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, regarding the use of the last of the previously mentioned measures available to keep our nation under the statutory debt limit, suspension of reinvestment of the Exchange Stabilization Fund.
“Today, as previously announced, the Treasury Department will suspend reinvestment of the Exchange Stabilization Fund, the last of the measures available to keep the nation under the statutory debt limit. In order to prevent a default on the nation’s obligations, Congress must enact a timely increase of the debt ceiling.”
Finally, to quote President Obama from his address earlier this week:
“[American workers] are fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word. They work all day long, many of them scraping by, just to put food on the table. And when these Americans come home at night, bone-tired, and turn on the news, all they see is the same partisan three-ring circus here in Washington. They see leaders who can’t seem to come together and do what it takes to make life just a little bit better for ordinary Americans. They’re offended by that. And they should be.”
Tomorrow’s blogticle would ideally present the terms of the debt agreement, but if not, we’ll discuss life insurance.
We invite your opinions and comments by posting them below, or by calling the Panel of Experts.