The Current State of the Government Debt

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


Closing Balance Today


This Month

Fiscal Year

Debt held by the public









Intragovernmental holdings









Total public debt outstanding





Less: Debt Not Subject to Limit
  Other Debt





  Unamortized Discount





  Federal Financing Bank





  Hope Bonds





Plus: Other





Total Public Debt Subject to Limit





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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.