Green Room

America’s mysteriously unchanging national debt: $16,699,396,000,000

posted at 11:09 am on August 15, 2013 by


Even as the Treasury was running up the $98-billion deficit it reported in the July Monthly Treasury Statement, every one of the 22 Daily Treasury Statements published for July said the Treasury had closed out the previous business day with exactly $16,699,396,000,000 in debt.  The Daily Treasury Statement for Aug. 12, released Tuesday afternoon, says the debt remained stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000 during the first 12 days of this month, too. On May 17, the first day the Treasury reported that the debt had hit exactly $16,699,396,000,000–and was thus just $25 million below the legal limit — Treasury Secretary Lew sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner saying he was beginning to implement what he called “the standard set of extraordinary measures” to prevent the Treasury from exceeding the legal limit on the federal debt. Since Lew sent that letter–announcing that he would use “extraordinary measures”– the debt has remained stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000 for 87 straight days.

“Extraordinary measures,” indeed.  In a recent speech, President Obama touted the falling deficit, which is projected to drop to “only” $759 billion this year.  President Bush’s average annual deficit was $250 billion.  Obama blew past the six trillion dollar debt milepost months ago.  Candidate Obama excoriated Bush for his “unpatriotic” additions to the national debt back in 2008; in less than five years, President Obama has matched Bush’s total over two full terms — and surpassed it by $2 trillion.  As soon as Sec. Lew’s manipulation expires, we’ll hit the $17 trillion mark overall.  Reminder: America’s true national debt is closer to $90 trillion than it is to the official number

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


So is this the new way they’ve devised to get around the debt ceiling? Just stop updating the national debt total? I wish I could get away with that with my credit card company.

Doughboy on August 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM

I’ve been told, by multiple people, that the 17 trillion dollars — sounds like something a right wing nut would say. So mentioning the figure of our national debt makes you a right wing nut.

earlgrey133 on August 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.


donabernathy on August 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Phony records?

faraway on August 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

The BC forger was promoted.

faraway on August 15, 2013 at 11:24 AM

It’s really pretty simple. The clock broke.

oldroy on August 15, 2013 at 11:47 AM


NJ Red on August 15, 2013 at 11:50 AM

It’s really pretty simple. The clock broke.

oldroy on August 15, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Clock’s fine. It just got repossessed since they couldn’t keep up the payments on it.

Oxymoron on August 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Perhaps someone should check Fort Knox to see if that glittery stuff is still in there.

TimBuk3 on August 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Yep. Orwell was an optimist.

ElectricPhase on August 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM

My bank said I was overdrawn, but I told them there was still money in the account…because I quit writing the checks down back in June.

They were not amused.


Solaratov on August 15, 2013 at 12:37 PM

It’s that Clinton math. Just like they spun the “surpluses”.

CW on August 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM

The malfeasance, dishonesty and utter stupidity of this administration,at every level,is simply stunning.

zap-johnson on August 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM

The biggest part of the Treasury being able to pull off this feat for this long is that instead of buying Treasury securities daily with the excess funds from the federal employees’ retirement funds, they’ve been pumping that excess directly into the general fund. Of course, once the debt ceiling is raised again, all that pension underfunding will be paid back with interest (and then promptly spent and replaced with on-the-books IOUs).

I’m surprised it’s lasted this long, especially since if one ignores the complete lack of a debt ceiling between February 6 and May 19, this magic trick has been played continuously since mid-December 2012.

Steve Eggleston on August 15, 2013 at 12:59 PM

B.O.: I was told there would be no math…

Galtian on August 15, 2013 at 1:01 PM

They’re probably still using 16-bit 80286 Intel machines at Treasury…it’s hard for computers to count past 16 trillion in binary when your computers are still made with wood frames….

powerpickle on August 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Obama’s abacus is too small….

powerpickle on August 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Jack Lew can’t use his curly-cue script so he refuses to count anymore….

powerpickle on August 15, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Well, I suppose stopping counting the debt is an “extraordinary measure”. So kudos for some measure of honesty on this one…… *eyeroll*

GWB on August 15, 2013 at 1:05 PM

At least the unemployment rate is only 7.4%

Ellis on August 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Is anyone really surprised that the numbers are being fudged? Most days it seems like the conversations at the White House goes something like this:
Sir, the report you asked for, it’s….not good.
Let me see that. Holy Crikees Batman. Err, we can’t show that. How bout we just turn that first digit into a 1, move the decimal point over a bit, and viola!
Wait, that’s fraud. You can’t do that.
Who’s going to do something about it? Congress? HA! The President? He loves this sh*t. The press’ll lap this up with a spoon. It’s so obviously and outrageously wrong that the only explanation that makes sense is that it is, in fact, right.
Genius, sir.

smfic on August 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

It’s just another lie from this administration.

sadatoni on August 15, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Rubber checks don’t add to your debt… until they start coming back.

Gwillie on August 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM


A Daily Treasury Statement wasn’t issued yesterday.


DarthBrooks on August 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Hmmmmm…. I wonder if there’s a connection between those badly printed $100 bills and this……..

GWB on August 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Wasn’t kiting checks the basis for “Catch Me If You Can”?

So I guess now it’s “Catch Me If You Can, Racist Teabagger!”

ramesees on August 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Phony Success™!

NOMOBO on August 15, 2013 at 1:56 PM

DarthBrooks on August 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM

They usually show up about 2:30 Eastern. The 8/14 statement should be out in about 21 minutes.

Steve Eggleston on August 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Since this administration has shown an extraordinary propensity to lie, why would anyone believe the debt has actually held this long? This administration lies about the simple things, I believe they would lie about this too. Why wouldn’t they? THey have no respect for the constitution, the law, the Congress, the Republicans, half the American people, what makes anyone think they have any respect for honest accounting?

If we had a free press in this country, we could certainly find out the truth. Alas, we’re stuck with Pravda and Izvestia who are merely the media wing of the Democratic Party (thank you Roger Hedgecock).

bflat879 on August 15, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Elections have Trillions upon Trillions of consequences.

Sequester meant nothing. Spending limits mean nothing. Government spending and hiring freezes mean nothing….. bigger and bigger and bigger it goes and there is no trigger to stop it. Spendopoly monopoly Obama Style.

Who signs the checks? Hen house has no hens left because the foxes in DC ate them all.

Treasury raided and emptied. The whole reason amnesty is being pushed to the front and center is to take our eye off the players and spenders….. Obama has said legalizing all the Dream people (illegal alien criminals currently residing in our country), is because once they are legalized and given amnesty they will step forward from the shadows and become hard working tax paying US citizens. That’s where they keep coming up with pluses for their minus column. Anyone believe that?

ActinUpinTexas on August 15, 2013 at 4:38 PM

We could probably have a nice manned base on Mars for less than 30 billion a year, so why not? It’s not real money anyway.

DarkCurrent on August 15, 2013 at 4:56 PM

They are just stopping investment s in pension funds to hold it steady. Baby boomers need to give there fair share.

Mormontheman on August 15, 2013 at 6:31 PM

It sounds like another creative solution to the Kobayashi Maru no-win scenario…

KCSanDiego on August 15, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Troll free. Shocker.

Kataklysmic on August 16, 2013 at 12:09 AM

We must have hit the end of the number scale. The next space is infinity.

trs on August 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM

“A fish rots from the head down.”

claudius on August 16, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Of course, once the debt ceiling is raised again, all that pension underfunding will be paid back with interest (and then promptly spent and replaced with on-the-books IOUs).

Steve Eggleston on August 15, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Exactly. As soon as the debt ceiling is raised, the reported debt will shoot up. Everything that’s been covered up for months will suddenly be on the books.

ITguy on August 16, 2013 at 11:19 AM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint

Just a reminder: People will die

Allahpundit Jun 28, 2017 10:41 PM
Top Pick

“Whipped cream’s killing more people than ever before.”

Top Pick

Medicare for all?

“There comes a point where you gotta get off the crazy train.”

Poll: Dem voters glumly sticking with Pelosi

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 8:41 PM

Disaster ahead?

“When she left it, it was in better shape than it had ever been.”

Manafort, firm registers as foreign agents

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 6:41 PM

Better late than never?

Delivered as promised

“I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women and children.”

“The Russia investigation was by far the dominant topic…”

The merry little media war continues.

Criminal enterprise

Politico: Has the SPLC lost its way?

John Sexton Jun 28, 2017 3:01 PM

“The organization has always tried to find ways to milk money out of the public…”

Trump legal team backing away from Comey complaint?

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 2:31 PM


Time to get up and go to work, sir

CNN gets glum, defensive after resignations

John Sexton Jun 28, 2017 1:01 PM

“If Jeff lit himself on fire, it wouldn’t appease the pro-Trump media.”

Hmmm: FBI probing Russia-based anti-virus firm?

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 12:31 PM

“I wouldn’t put their stuff on my computer if you paid me.”

He works hard for the money…

It’s not a slippery slope. It’s a freaking avalanche.


Showdown: Sarah Palin vs the New York Times

Jazz Shaw Jun 28, 2017 9:21 AM


Credit where creditor’s due?

More flash than bang, but a very bad sign

“Felix was out on bond after threatening another public servant and has a history of making threats.”

Chaffetz: House needs housing allowances?

Ed Morrissey Jun 27, 2017 8:41 PM

“There are dozens upon dozens of members living in their offices, and I don’t know how healthy that is long term.”

“This isn’t going to get a lot cheaper, it can’t, it won’t.”

“…what we failed to achieve with votes, we would do with weapons.”

“[S]o dumb it’s amazing we even have to have the conversation.”

“It was not necessary.”

“You’re inflaming everyone right here right now with those words!”

“Trump’s people said, ‘We’ll be writing the speech that the President’s Audio-Animatronic figure will be saying.'”

Excuses, excuses.

Not really a “kill all the lawyers” scenario

4 pm ET!

“it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced laborers from North Korea.”