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Will U.S. Public Debt Reach $22 Trillion by Feb. 2014?

Ron DeLegge

Just imagine an undisciplined out-of-control spender whose credit limit has just been extended. In other words, they can continue overspending without any accountability. That "they" is the U.S. government.

It's been almost a week since Congress reached a temporary deal to suspend the U.S. government's debt ceiling and the Treasury department has already wasted no time by adding another $375 billion in new debt.

Suspension of a cap on U.S. debt, which was previously fixed at $16.69 trillion, means the Treasury department, headed by Jack Lew, can effectively spend whatever amount of money it needs or wants.

How much debt can the U.S. government rack up by the next debt ceiling deadline on Feb. 7, 2014? At the current spending pace of $375 billion per week, U.S. public debt would reach $22.70 trillion.

Numerous times, we've written extensively about how the U.S. Treasury had been using accounting shenanigans to avoid going over the previous legal debt limit. We also made the point that any corporation or corporate executive that attempted to use the U.S. Treasury's same accounting tactics would be charged with fraud. Others too have caught on to the U.S. Treasury's financial games.

"When you are the largest economy in the world, when you are the safe haven in all circumstances, as has been the case, you can't go into that creative accounting business," said International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde in an interview with NBC News' Meet the Press.

What does the bond market have to say about this?

After reaching a yearly high of 2.97%, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries (IEF - News) has since fallen by 12.5%. Put another way, the bond market is saying that it doesn't care about the fiscal realities of the U.S. government's unmanageable debt load. Eventually, when it does start caring, that reality will be first reflected in key price levels highlighted in our latest Technical Forecast. 

In the meantime, Treasury bulls are celebrating. 

ETFs that benefit from lower yields and higher Treasury bond prices like the ProShares Ultra 20+ Yr. Treasury ETF (UBT - News) and the Direxion Daily 20+ Yr. Treasury Bull 3x Shares (TMF - News) have gained between 8% to 12% since early September. Treasury bonds with long-term maturities (TLT - News) like those tracked by UBT and TMF are most sensitive to changes in interest rates compared to Treasuries (SHY - News) with maturities of less than 10-years.

The table above is from the U.S. Treasury's daily statement.

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