I just did a search on the internet and it looks like the traditional corporate media is not reporting a major fact.

The United States government seems to be operating in default (in other words, it’s broke).
From December 30, 2005:

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said yesterday that the United States could be unable to pay its bills in early 2006 unless Congress raises the government’s borrowing authority, which is now capped at 8.18 trillion.

Snow, in a letter to lawmakers, estimated that the government is expected to bump into the statutory debt limit around the middle of February.

“At that time, unless the debt limit is raised or the Treasury Department takes authorized extraordinary actions, we will be unable to continue to finance government operations,” Snow wrote.

Several other traditional media sources also reveal that the debt ceiling is 8.18 trillion.  The last traditional media story I can find is from January 8:

If consumers are overextended with credit, they’re not alone. The U.S. government is poised to exceed its charge card limit and may have to quit paying its bills unless Congress raises the national debt limit soon.

That’s what Treasury Secretary John Snow said in a recent letter to Congress, warning that unless the current 8.2 trillion debt ceiling is raised by mid-March, “we will be unable to continue to finance government operations.”

The reason I ask is because the Treasury Department says the current debt is at 8,190,567,748,779.48 as of January 26.

So is it 8.18 or 8.2 trillion dollars?  U.S. Title 31 Subtitle III Chapter 31 Subchapter 1 § 3101 is where the information is listed.

Except right now it states 7.384 trillion.  But it does add a note that Rule xLIX of the House of Representatives allows them to raise the debt ceiling.  In 2004, there were several proposals to raise the debt ceiling but the one that passed into law is Public Law 108-415.  It isn’t available directly online (via a search for Public Laws) as it is still at the “printing office”.

You can find it via a search for Senate Resolution 2986 from the 108th Congress.  It states that the public debt ceiling is now 8,184,000,000,000.

In April 2005, the House and Senate wrote a bill to raise that debt ceiling to 8.965 trillion.  According to the Library of Congress, that bill (passed by the House) has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.   It has however not been passed into law.

If the debt ceiling is 8.184 trillion and the current debt is 8.19 trillion, then the U.S. government is in default.  Right this minute.

Who can forget the battles between Clinton and the Congress in 1995 when parts of the federal government shut down due to fact that the debt ceiling had been broached?

Either I’m wrong or else this story has not been reported.  What is going on?

Crossposted from Flogging the Simian


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