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Agence France-Presse Gets Debt Ceiling Story Wrong

by @ 9:51 am on February 4, 2010. Filed under Economics, Media

Several conservative blogs have linked to this Agence France-Presse story about the U.S. debt limit this morning

WASHINGTON — The US debt is on track to hit a congressionally proposed debt ceiling of 14.3 trillion dollars by the end of February, the Treasury said Wednesday, a day ahead of a key vote to raise it to that level.

“Based on current projections, Treasury expects to reach the debt ceiling as early as the end of February. However, the government’s cash flows are volatile, making it difficult to forecast a precise date,” the Treasury said in a statement.

The current limit on the public debt of the United States is 12.374 trillion dollars.

The US debt exceeded 12.349 trillion dollars on Monday, according to Treasury data.

The US House of Representatives will vote Thursday on whether to raise the US debt limit to a historic 14.3 trillion dollars, allowing the United States to borrow another 1.9 trillion dollars.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said representatives would take up the measure a week after the Senate approved the higher debt ceiling in a 60-39 vote.

Sounds terrifying doesn’t it ? Well, it should, because according to this story, the National Debt of the United States will increased from $ 12,360,943,989,345.48, where it stands today, to more than $ 14,294,000,000,000, the amount of the debt ceiling making it’s way through Congress. Or, an increase of $ 1,933,056,010,654.52 in a mere 24 days.

Well, it turns out the real story is something quite different:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Wednesday it expects to hit the government’s debt ceiling by the end of February, putting pressure on Congress to raise the limit from its current level of $12.4 trillion.

Treasury said it is working closely with Congress to raise the ceiling. The Senate has approved legislation to increase it by $1.9 trillion to $14.3 trillion. A ceiling that high would equal about $45,000 for every American. The House is expected to vote on the increase Thursday.

Congress approved a smaller increase of $290 billion in late December, allowing the government to borrow for about two more months.

In other words, the debt limit that Treasury is talking about is the current level of $ 12,394,000,000,000, not the revised limit that Congress is considering.

Yes, that’s bad, but still not what AFP is reporting.

One Response to “Agence France-Presse Gets Debt Ceiling Story Wrong”

  1. [...] HT: Doug Mataconis for the heads up. [...]

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