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. Continue Reading →
The U.S. federal government debt is owned by many different people, governments, businesses, and institutions. But it’s important to understand at least the basic components of the debt and how they relate to each other. I hope this has been a small contribution to this discussion. Continue Reading →
The debt-to-GDP ratio is too high. The U.S. is not Greece or Italy — yet. But if we stay on the current path, at some point an auction of Treasury securities will fail in the sense that there will be no bidders from the private sector. The Fed could bail out Treasury by purchasing the entire new issue. But that is a policy choice that the Fed must make. The really scary part of all this is that nobody knows the debt-to-GDP ratio at which an auction will fail. There will be warnings, however. Watch for rising interest rates on TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities).
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