Top officials at the Treasury Department, who have to worry about such things as when the country will no longer have the authority to borrow money, held a big meeting yesterday afternoon to decide what the new debt ceiling should be. Assistant Secretary Roger Mehle will reveal the results of that discussion when he testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee today; whether his figure is accepted, there is no question the ceiling will have to be raised, and soon.
As you can see from the Data Base above, the national debt was $1.069 trillion as of the close of business May 20, or $10 billion short of the legal limit, which was supposed to be adequate to carry the government through to Sept. 30. Without getting into all the economic reasons that optimistic projection did not come true, suffice it to say that Treasury officials estimate Congress will have to raise the ceiling by the third week in June or the government will be unable to borrow more money to pay its bills. Watch this space. Mehle's new number is supposed to be big enough to carry the government through fiscal 1983. Get your bets down now.