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Debt Ceiling Talk Swirling

Wall Street needs to be more worried about the debt ceiling, according to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, saying that the market has been too calm in the face of the looming limit. And in a letter to Congress, the Secretary warned that the “extraordinary measures” taken by the Treasury Department will be exhausted on October 17th at the latest. He also estimated that at that point, the Treasury will have a cash balance of $30 billion rather than the $50 billion he estimated a few weeks ago, meaning the Treasury would only be able to spend what it takes in…and that’s not enough to pay the country’s bills.

Just a few of the bills the Treasury has to pay in the next month:

October 1st: $42 billion for Medicare, active-duty military and civil service payments

October 3rd: $25 billion for Social Security benefits

October 9th, 16th and 23rd: $12 billion per day for additional Social Security benefits

November 1st: $67 billion for Medicare, active-duty military and civil service payments

Once the Treasury’s “extraordinary measures” run out, starting on October 18th, there will be a $106 billion shortfall through November 15th, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. That means the Treasury won’t be able to pay one-third of the bills.

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