Michael S. Rozeff
January 10, 2011
The U.S. government is insolvent. Who says so? Timothy F. Geithner, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
Geithner sent a letter to Congress on Jan. 6, 2011 asking for the debt limit to be raised. If it is not raised, he warned, the U.S. will default on its debt. In his words:
Never in our history has Congress failed to increase the debt limit when necessary. Failure to raise the limit would precipitate a default by the United States.”
He didn’t say that the government will be inconvenienced. He didn’t say that the government would be forced to muddle through by delaying payments, raising taxes, and cutting non-obligatory programs and services. He said the government will default. This means that the government doesn’t have enough cash to pay its obligations to the many and sundry persons to whom it owes cash unless Congress authorizes an issue of even more debt.
After the government issues the new debt, its overall debt will be even higher than before. Unless its obligations that require cash payments are reduced, or unless it finds new sources of revenue, or unless the interest rates that it pays decline, the same situation will surely occur again and occur even faster because its overall debt will have risen. It will run short of cash to pay its obligations.