Tax-law-challenged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent a letter today to Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, and all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to explain that we’re on track to hit the debt limit on New Year’s Eve.

Oh, a couple of months? Great. No need to worry, then.

Here is the full text of the letter:

I am writing to inform you that the statutory debt limit will be reached on December 31, 2012, and to notify you that the Treasury Department will shortly begin taking certain extraordinary measures authorized by law to temporarily postpone the date that the United States would otherwise default on its legal obligations.

These extraordinary measures, which are explained in detail in an appendix​ to this letter, can create approximately $200 billion in headroom under the debt limit.  Under normal circumstances, that amount of headroom would last approximately two months.  However, given the significant uncertainty that now exists with regard to unresolved tax and spending policies for 2013, it is not possible to predict the effective duration of these measures.  At this time, the extent to which the upcoming tax filing season will be delayed as a result of these unresolved policy questions is also uncertain.  If left unresolved, the expiring tax provisions and automatic spending cuts, as well as the attendant delays in filing of tax returns, would have the effect of adding some additional time to the duration of the extraordinary measures.  Treasury will provide more guidance regarding the expected duration of these measures when the policy outlook becomes clearer.


Timothy F. Geithner

“Extraordinary measures”? Like reducing spending, perhaps?

Nah. Perish the thought.

Why not, right?

Happy New Year, everyone!