So, what’s a financially strapped government to do? Find other sources of cash, wherever it can:
The Obama administration will begin to tap federal retiree programs to help fund operations after the government lost its ability Monday to borrow more money from the public, adding urgency to efforts in Washington to fashion a compromise over the debt.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has warned for months that the government would soon hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — a legal limit on how much it can borrow. With that limit reached Monday, Geithner is undertaking special measures in an effort to postpone the day when he will no longer have enough funds to pay all of the government’s bills.
Geithner, who has already suspended a program that helps state and local government manage their finances, will begin to borrow from retirement funds for federal workers. The measure won’t have an impact on retirees because the Treasury is legally required to reimburse the program.
The maneuver buys Geithner only a few months of time. If Congress does not vote by Aug. 2 to raise the debt limit, Geithner says the government is likely to default on some of its obligations, which he says would cause enormous economic harm and the suspension of government services, including the disbursal of Social Security funds.
You just gotta love the Obama administration. They’re taking us to levels that were once the sole domain of European bureaucracies and Third World countries.
But hey, President Obama himself killed Bin Laden so who really cares if we go broke the year before a national election?
The world’s largest bond fund has gone ultra bearish on the United States, dumping all of its U.S. government-related debt holdings.
The move by Bill Gross’s $236.9 billion PIMCO Total Return fund completed last month comes in the wake of a vicious Treasury market sell-off and just days after he questioned who will buy Treasuries once the Federal Reserve halts its latest round of bond purchases in June.
Gross, who also helps oversee a $1.1 trillion investment portfolio as PIMCO’s co-chief investment officer, has repeatedly warned against U.S. deficit spending and its inflationary impact, which undermine the value of government debt and push up yields as investors demand more compensation for risk.
Gross expects further carnage. Just last week, he told Reuters Insider that a 4.0 percent yield for 10-year notes is a “rational expectation” if the Fed “disappears as the buyer of last resort.”
Gross, as with many other investors, has raised red flags over demand for Treasuries when the U.S. central bank ends its controversial quantitative easing program. This week, he posed the following in his widely read monthly report: “Who will buy Treasuries when the Fed doesn’t? The question really is at what yield, and what are the price repercussions if the adjustments are significant.”
“U.S. government bonds are not a safe haven,” Jim Rogers, the global investor who predicted the 2007-2009 housing-market crash, said in a telephone interview from Singapore. “I cannot conceive of lending money to the U.S. government for 30 years.”
Jim Rogers and Bill Gross kinda know what they’re talking about.