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Default sill in Geithner’s hands

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Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner again repeated his claim this morning on Meet the Press, that if Congress fails to raise the debt limit by August 2nd, he will be forced to default on U.S. debt. That is still simply false.

According to The Bipartisan Policy Center, the Treasury will take in $172.4 billion in revenue next month. It only is obligated to pay $29 billion in interest on the debt. The Treasury also has to honor hundreds of billion in maturing securities. But for every security it pays off, the total debt the Treasury owes is reduced by an equal amount. So Treasury can borrow that money right back.

Meanwhile, the government has hundreds of billions in other assets. The U.S. owns $370 billion in gold. That would be more than enough money to cover all of the federal government’s scheduled $306.7 August spending. Geithner has refused to sell any of these assets. He told Congress that any sale of U.S. assets “would be damaging to financial markets and the economy and would undermine confidence in the United States.”

As damaging as not making interest payments on the debt?

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