The Current State of the Government Debt

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The total U.S. government debt subject to the legally mandated limit has been unchanged for at least a month.  Some people believe that means Treasury is cooking the books.  I’m pretty sure these folks should worry about something else.  This brief article will discuss the current state of the government debt.

As far as I can tell, Treasury is engaging in normal portfolio reallocation as the debt nears the limit.  They are selling securities held by the government to the public.  This changes the composition of the portfolio, but does not change the total.  However, it does provide funds for the government to continue operations as those sales of intragovernmental holdings bring cash into the treasury.

The table below shows the July 26 figures.  I’ve added two rows that detail the changes from period to period.  Find something else to be concerned about, folks.

U.S. Government Debt July 26, 2013 (in millions)

Opening balance

Transactions

Closing Balance Today

Today

This Month

Fiscal Year

Debt held by the public

$11,923,849

$11,923,178

$11,901,292

$11,269,586

  Change

$671

$21,886

$631,706

Intragovernmental holdings

$4,814,277

$4,814,958

$4,837,028

$4,796,656

  Change

-$681

-$22,070

$40,372

Total public debt outstanding

$16,738,126

$16,738,136

$16,738,320

$16,066,242

Less: Debt Not Subject to Limit
  Other Debt

$485

$485

$486

$486

  Unamortized Discount

$32,056

$32,066

$32,250

$31,130

  Federal Financing Bank

$5,695

$5,695

$5,695

$7,112

  Hope Bonds

$494

$494

$494

$493

Plus: Other

$0

$0

$0

$0

Total Public Debt Subject to Limit

$16,699,396

$16,699,396

$16,699,395

$16,027,021