Are We About To Have Another Debt Ceiling Crisis?

Are We About To Have Another Debt Ceiling Crisis?  As In This Week?
James Bianco
September 2, 2011


It was just one month ago today (August 2) that the great debt ceiling debate was “solved” with a deal to raise the limit by $500 billion. However, as the chart below shows, the immediate $500 billion ceiling hike on August 2 (red line) has almost been reached. As of tonight (September 2), the U.S. only has about $32 billion more in borrowing authority until the month old debt ceiling hike is reached (green line). Based on current projections, this is about two weeks away, much sooner than was projected 31 days ago (it was hope the August 2 increase of $500 billion increase would last until the super-committee’s Thanksgiving deadline). Total debt outstanding (blue line), which includes debt not subject to this limit (explained in green below), surpassed the debt ceiling today.

As noted on the chart below, the President can request a further increase of $500 billion at any time. Only passage of a “no vote” could stop him. So, we could have the President requesting another hike in debt ceiling hike again as early as next week and have yet another vote that could shut down the Government. In this case, if the Congress did nothing, the hike goes through. But to not hold a “no vote” on this contentious issue would not be politically wise So, theoretically if a “no vote” were to pass, admittedly a long shot, the Government could shut down in the next few weeks.

If nothing else, a President with an approval rating that has been crushed since the August 2 deal (down 10% to 39%, Gallup) would not want to repeat this exercise five weeks later, and take yet another round of brickbats and a possible crisis over watching a “no vote” counted with the threat of shutdown again hanging in the balance.

The fun just never stops!


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