Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Will the stimulus package be a pork fest?

by Bruce Webb
reader Buffpilot in comments insists the answer is clearly yes on the grounds
The Dems, have NEVER, shown fiscal responsibility when in charge of the purse strings (or at least since before LBJ). So you have zero track record to back you up on thinking that the Dems will suddenly cut back government expenditures and raise taxes to at least get close to balancing the budget. Can you imagine the Dems actually cutting the size of the Federal governemnt? Or reducing its power? Neither do I. BTW the Rs have not been any better.
Well the historical record tells us something different. If we examine Total Debt as a percentage of GDP it went down or stayed even under every post-war President not named Reagan or Bush. We were able to fund the post-war GI bill, the Marshall Plan, Korea, the Great Society, Vietnam, navigate the first Oil Shock all of it except for two years with a Democratically controlled house. And came through the whole thing with debt as a percentage of GDP bottoming out in 1980. I am afraid the old narrative of Democrats as the party of tax and spend policy leading to ever increasing deficts while Republicans being the party of fiscal responsibility has really not been the case since Eisenhower left office. Instead the whole concept of Small Government has since 1964 and the birth of the Modern Republican Party meant "don't spend tax money on undeserving poor people".

CBO Director Testifies on Economic Impact of HR1

by Bruce Webb
Movie Guy further requested some discussion on CBO Director Elmendorf's testimony to Congress from yesterday. The whole text is here Elmendorf testifies before House Budget Comm I didn't have time to go thourghly through the whole thing but these tables were interesting enough to put up for comment.

CBO Letter to Rep. Ryan re Stimulus Debt Service

by Bruce Webb
Reader Movie Guy suggest that the following letter and table merit some discussion. It seems to speak for itself but the whole thing is short enough simply to post (I deleted some returns and added some commas to save space, the original PDF is here CBO Letter to Rep. Ryan). Please add any contributions in comments.
Honorable Paul Ryan, Ranking Member, Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Congressman:

As you requested, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated the costs of additional debt service that would result from enacting H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Such costs are not included in CBO’s cost estimates for individual pieces of legislation and are not counted for Congressional scorekeeping purposes for such legislation.

Under CBO’s current economic assumptions and assuming that none of the direct budgetary effects of H.R. 1 are offset by future legislation, CBO estimates that the government’s interest costs would increase by $0.7 billion in fiscal year 2009 and by a total of $347 billion over the 2009-2019 period (see enclosed table).

If you would like any additional information, we would be happy to
provide it. The CBO staff contact is (redacted).

Sincerely, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director

CBO Tables: Bigger Images

CBO Estimate for HR 1: Jan 26th, 2009: the Tables

For some reason the outlay/revenue tables vanished from the PDF. Which has led to more tin foil hats. In the interest of sanity I have put up a version here:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It can't happen here(?)

Prescient Young Blogger Did What S. Korea Couldn't -- Foresee Global Financial Crisis
He had been a so-so student who studied communications at a so-so junior college in a backwater town south of Seoul. Thirty-one years old and single, he spent much of his time alone in his room. As his father noted, "He can't even get a job."

But he knew a global economic smack-down when he saw one.

Minerva saw it coming last fall, far earlier and with far more acuity than the South Korean government, which his blog has humiliated and angered.

Besides getting mad, the government got even. In a move widely perceived by the public as a chilling echo of the 1970s, when a military dictatorship ruled South Korea, the government detained Park this month, invoking a seldom-used telecommunications law that charges him with harming the public by spreading "false rumors."
Well I doubt that any Angry Bears needs to fear being locked up. On the other hand the following from Sec 802 of the Patriot Act could be pretty broadly interpreted.
5) the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--
`(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
`(B) appear to be intended--
`(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
`(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
`(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
`(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.'
.That is if Larry Summers thinks that your comments have the appearance of being intended to influence the policy of the government and decides he is in some way 'intimidated' you could be picked up and detained just like poor Mr. Park.

I'll admit the concept is kind of far-fetched. But then again just three days ago former NSA analyst Russell Tice dropped a bomb shell on CountdownNSA Whistleblower. What he alleges there couldn't happen either, not here. Except maybe it did.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 2008: A flurry of Social Security Posts at Angry Bear

Hoo boy, Social Security is back in the news with the MSM trying to whip up the idea that Obama is going to prove Bush right by going after Social Security (similar narratives are floating around about Iraq and torture all in an effort to prove that Bush was never, never actually wrong about anything). I do some push back.
Social Security Monthly Balances: Nov update
Social Security 'Reform': the Undead Return
Bruce Webb and Barkley Rosser and Social Security Not actually by me, but if you think I am going to pass that title up you are nuts. My Mom reads the site.
Obama and Social Security: why NOT to worry
2008 Social Security Balances: Projections vs. Actual
Recalculating 'Nothing': Social Security in a Time of Recession
Social Security?: It's Stochastic!!
Social Security: Goldilocks curves, Not too hot, not too cold
Is Obama echoing Bush on Social Security?
Orszag (and Diamond) Flunk Reading & 'Rithmetic: SS Legacy Debt
Unleash Your Inner FDR: Social Security as Political Opportunity

Even More Posts from Angry Bear: late Aug to Dec 2008

In late August I stopped numbering my Social Security posts, because it had gotten increasingly pretentious And cut them back somewhat. Which made them harder to distinguish as a block. So as a public service (?), I'll try to gather all the links here.
AUG: CBO: Updated Long-Term Projections for Social Security
Social Security 2027: A date for action?
Backwards Transfer is Back: Social Security's Unfunded Liability
SEPTUnfunded Liability Bookended
Intergenerational Equity, Unfunded Liability and Selfish Boomers
R.I.P. Social Security Crisis: "We hardly knew ya" This was the point I thought the series would go on hiatus. Who could have known that the MSM would blow up some post-election comments by Obama and get this issue right back on the table? I thought the Wall Street meltdown would put an end to all this. But clearly not.
Social Security Actuaries score the Warshawsky Plan
OCTSocial Security Checkup: Monthly Trust Fund Reports
NOVWhy Conservatives Hate Social Security
Social Security: Inter and Intra-Temporal Contingency
DECSocial Security Monthly Balances: Oct update
Is it true that foreigners finance American debt?What does this have to do with Social Security? Well nothing. But an interesting topic.
2008 Financial Report of the United States
Why does Santa hate poor kids?Nothing about Social Security here either. I rant on how we use things like Santa to teach the poor that life is just unfair, suck it up and accept the fact that rich people get a better deal from Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

I skipped some non-financial posts, but I think this includes all the relevant ones for this site.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Unfunded Liability, aka Legacy Cost

This graph is being used in a forthcoming post on Angry Bear called 'Orszag and Diamond Flunk Reading'

Friday, January 16, 2009

Alternative Shapes

(Update. Commenter RDF points out that these graphs mean nothing for those who don't have the context. And I plead guilty. Some of my posts here are just prep pieces for longer work over at Angry Bear. For example these graphs were incorporated into Social Security: Goldilocks Curves, Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold. And for the record the 2004 and 2007 curves were originally reversed, something I fixed Jan 18.)
1997 II.F6

2000 II.F6

2004 II.D7

2007 II.D7

2008 II.D6

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trust Fund Monthly Reports: 2008 Preliminary

OAS::Opening balance//Projected year end balance-Intermediate Cost//Y-O-Y Increase//Year end balance-Low Cost//Y-O-Y increase-Low Cost
$2.023 trillion // $2.216 trillion //$193 billion// $2.221 trillion// $198 billion

DI::Opening balance//Projected year end balance-Intermediate Cost//Y-O-Y Increase//Year end balance-Low Cost//Y-O-Y increase-Low Cost
$214.9 billion//$218.7 billion//$3.8 billion//$221.3 billion// $6.4 billion.
Per IV.A2 the opening balance for DI was $214 billion, projected year end under IC $218.7 billion, under LC $221.3 billion

June 30th/Mid-year: OAS $2.140 trillion// DI $220 billion

Aug 31st/Two-thirds: OAS $2.164 trillion// DI $219 billion

Sept 30th/Q3: OAS $2.177 trillion// DI $219 billion

Oct 30th/Five-sixths: OAS $2.187 trillion// DI $218 billion

Nov 30th/Eleven twelvths: OAS $2.197 trillion//DI $217.5 billion

Dec 31st/Year End: OAS $2.203 trillion//$215.8 billion

Social Security: 'Crisis' and 'Reform'

In a rational world there would be no need to talk about Social Security. The combined OASDI program is currently running a surplus and is projected to be in Short Term Actuarial Balance (the legal test for solvency) until at least 2028. Yet Dean Baker at Beat the Pressis constantly having to stamp out fires lit by people at the NYT and the WaPo. Fires which are serving to light up the blogosphere. The other day their was a dKos diary on Obama and Social Security that had nearly 600 comments. And David Sirota had a similar thing up on Open Left. And just this morning Digby talks about CNN bloviation on 'Entitlements'. To understand why they are so persistent you have to start with the language. So in this post I want to talk a little about the various definitions of 'Crisis' and 'Reform' as they apply to Social Security.

Social Security 'crisis' has typically been framed as crisis at Trust Fund Depletion. Rarely are the specifics spelled out, instead there is a lot of loose talk using terms like 'bankrupt' and 'flat broke' which naturally has led many, many people to translate as 'no check', 'Social Security won't be there for me'. Now a few seconds of reflection on the mechanics of Social Security shows this to be nonsense, as long as the FICA payroll tax exists Social Security can be paid out at some level, the real question is what will that level be and do we need to do anything about it. But instead of diving into that lets just stipulate that a gap between projected revenue and cost is the definition of 'crisis at depletion'. And right now that gap is projected to be 22% starting in 2041, or to turn it around a 78% payout of the scheduled benefit.

In more recent years a new definition of 'crisis' has surfaced. This is 'crisis at shortfall' which is the point at which revenue from taxation fails to meet costs. Now while it is really, really odd to call this a crisis given that Social Security is projected to have about $5 trillion in US Treasuries when this event is projected. But for the purposes here we will simply grant the crisismongers the point and pretend that the Trust Fund doesn't exist.

So that is the two 'crises' we are dealing with: 'crisis at depletion' which at root is defined as inability to pay benefits and 'crisis at shortfall' which is defined as inability to finance benefits, two slightly different concepts.

When we turn our attention to 'reform' we once again see two different frames. One would think that the goal of any 'reform' would be to fix the crisis. But that assumes we all share the same goal and the same interpetation of what the crisis is, something that as it turns out is not true at all among reformers.

When I look at 'crisis at depletion' I see it as a potential for a benefit cut that would be if not fatal be certainly painful to retirees in whatever year it occurs and for whatever years it persists. If the gap can be avoided altogether or mitigated at a reasonable cost I would prefer to try to close the gap as much as possible. But certain reformers don't see that benefit cut as a problem in and of itself, instead they see it as a threat and a call for a bailout. Thus you get a certain tension between people like Coberly who insist that the cost of the fix is cheap and people like FA who don't even like what they are paying now and certainly don't want to pay a penny more, not now and not in 2041. Now we know what the Coberly cost would be, a 1.7% point payroll increase now or roughly double that if we simply let 'crisis' run its projected course and avoided a tax increase until the last minute. But this assumes that we stick with the scheduled benefit which itself is based on a formula where initial benefits are based on real wage increases and subsequent benefits by CPI. Alternatively we could alter the schedule by changing the formula and so close the gap from the opposite direction. That is we can simply lower people's expectations about the replacement value of their retirement check in the interests of avoiding any need for a sudden bailout down the road. Now this approach is not inherently cruel, there are ways of doing it right and ways of doing it wrong, a lot of it comes down to achieving a good faith consensus on what our targeted outcome should be. If 78% after 2041 is not enough, what compensating benefit reduction between now and 2041 would place Social Security back on a pay-go basis under existing rates with permanent outcomes better than 78%. But whether we are talking a tax increase or some sort of benefit cut the goal here is to provide a fix for that sticker shock. This is 'reform' as 'fix' for 'crisis at depletion'.

On the other hand there are those who define 'reform' quite differently, instead of a 'fix' they look for a 'transformation'. If that transformation supplies a fix then great, but for some of these guys 'crisis' translates to 'opportunity'. That is there is a substantial group of people who hate Social Security for reasons that have nothing fundamentally to do with solvency. And while many of them may sincerely believe that their preferred system will out perform Social Security as currently configured, that belief is clearly secondary to their policy preferences. This becomes apparent when you look at plans like LMS whose outcomes for most seniors are not much better than simply letting the system go and whose interim costs are much higher than a simple Coberly-like fix would be. Now I suspect there are some mixed motives going on. Some free-market purists simply prefer privatization as an end in itself, the anti-socialist solution as it were. Other supporters of privatization seem more motivated by a desire for tax avoidance down the road, the no-bailout solution in this case. But neither group is really focused on maximizing retirement security for all, although they recognize that paying lip service to it may be politically unavoidable. When evaluating 'reform' plans you need to see if the reformers are really looking for a 'fix' or just a 'transformation'.

Okay that is 'reform' as it applies to 'crisis at depletion'. Fix Social Security or transform it. But what about 'crisis at shortfall'?

Well this one is a lot more cynical. After all at least at depletion we have an undoubted event: benefits and revenues have to be brought into line one way or another, there is a real imbalance internal to the program. Shortfall is different. A plan was put in place in 1983 designed to mitigate the impact of future revenues falling behind future costs. And that plan wasn't free, instead future retirees who were then working took on an additional tax burden in order to postpone benefit cuts for as long as possible. And those additional taxes, which are still being collected, have grown with accumulated interest to $2.3 trillion today and are projected to total more than $5.6 trillion by the peak in 2023. An amount sufficient to pay full benefits until 2041 (SSA) or 2049 (CBO) or potentially through some sort of reform continue to pay out some benefit better than 78% for the foreseeable future. But for some people 'crisis at shortfall' simply means being unwilling or perhaps unable to pay back the money they borrowed and their proposed 'reform' comes in the form of short to medium term changes in taxes, benefit levels or retirement age. In this case 'reform' pretty much boils down to 'tax avoidance' with 'fix' meaning 'not with my dime pal'. Note that in this case there is no immediate appeal to private accounts, no one even pretends they could be a solution to a cash shortfall projected to happen in less than ten years. This can't be excused as just an exercise in preferences for free market solutions, it is just out and out theft. Some will argue that they have no choice. Which doesn't change the moral equation.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Social Security 'Reform': the Undead Return

They won't give it a rest.

Dean Baker in his post The Post's Jihad against Social Security points to this article Obama Predicts Years of Deficits over $1 trillion and notes that they don't hesitate to single out the usual suspect. Is it the cost of the war? The cost of the bailout? The cost of the stimulus package? Nope apparently those are just short term problems. Instead as always the first stop for deficit reform is Social Security.
WaPo: The mounting debt has raised an alarm on Capitol Hill, where some Republicans and moderate Democrats are pressing Obama to tackle the looming challenge of skyrocketing Medicare and Social Security spending, and to adopt tough new budget rules to prevent future deficits from ballooning.
Which leads Dean to reply with some exasperation:
The article includes a comment about "the looming challenge of skyrocketing Medicare and Social Security spending. " Of course Social Security spending is not projected to skyrocket. It is projected to increase gradually, and its costs are fully covered by its own tax stream until 2048, according to the Congressional Budget Office's latest projections.

In a related note Paul Krugman poses the question in a Jan 5 post A Bullet Dodged
What would have happened if George W. Bush had actually succeeded in his plan to privatize Social Security?
and suggests an answer 'Ask the Italians' Bloomberg News: Italian Pensions Sapped by Private Funds Bush Backed

In my view it is practically criminal for policy makers to be wasting a second talking about Social Security given the very real possiblity we are headed for a new Great Depression. And so equally criminal for opinion makers to be twisting current events to pursue this old vendetta. It is a shame that people like Baker and Krugman still have to keep a vigilant eye out for the zombies intent on eating the flesh of Social Security. Maybe we can make a deal. If the Right will simply stop taking every possible opportunity to take a bite at Social Security then I promise to shut up. And then maybe we can let Krugman and Baker continue the really important discussion.

"Social Security 'reformers'! Report back to your graves!"

Italian Pension Privatization: a Cautionary Tale

Krugman: A Bullet Dodged
What would have happened if George W. Bush had actually succeeded in his plan to privatize Social Security? Ask the Italians.

Italian Pensions Sapped by Private Funds Bush Backed (my extract is a little different than Krugman's)
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Italy did for retirement financing what President George W. Bush couldn’t do in the U.S.: It privatized part of its social security system. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

The global market meltdown has created losses for those who agreed to shift their contributions from a government severance payment plan to private funds meant to yield higher returns. Anger is rising both at the state, which promoted the change, and money managers such as UniCredit SpA and Arca Previdenza, which stood to profit.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s administration is now considering ways to compensate as many as 1.2 million people who made the switch, giving up a fixed return for private plans linked to financial markets. It’s also letting people delay redemptions on retirement funds to avoid losses after Italy’s benchmark stock index fell 50 percent in 2008, destroying 300 billion euros ($423 billion) in wealth.

“The reform didn’t help anyone,” said Gabriele Fava, who heads the Fava & Associati law firm in Milan and writes about labor law. “Not the government, which was hoping everyone would make the switch to take the strain off its coffers, nor the workers who have not resolved the problem of needing a supplement to their social security pensions.”

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Are Economic Arguments just Beards for Ideology?

Right now the United States is either near the trough of a recession that will yield to recovery sometime at the end of this year, or it is just at the beginning of a multi-year recession not much different than other post-war ones, or it is on the verge of a Second Great Depression. And if you are not worried about which of these paths the country is on then you just are not paying attention because it is really important that we get this right. So why would anyone even be concerned about a government program that is currently in surplus and whose problems (if any) are ten to twenty years down the road? Yet against all odds the issue of Social Security 'crisis' simply refuses to die, you think you have driven a stake through its heart and it just rises again.

In the wake of the "There is no Social Security crisis" struggle of 2005 a commenter at DeLong asked this question in re Social Security 'reform'
"What puzzles me is energy and persistence of this propaganda campaign with scant positive results."
. Well I made a stab at answering that question in that much different economic environment: Why are they so insistent? and then made the same case at greater length at AB with What does Lenin have to do with it? in May 2008. Yet in comments on my previous AB post Social Security Monthly Balances, a dry as dust reporting of some not really interesting numbers, the whole argument blew up again this time in the context of a dollar meltdown. Those interested can follow the more heat than light discussion which rapidly broke down (as almost always) in ad homs and accusations of ad homs. Personally I would advise you not to waste your time. But it does raise the same question posed by that commenter at DeLong's three-plus years ago. Of all of the possible political and economic crises that we are well and truly facing why would anyone (except obsessives like me) even enter in on a discussion of Social Security? Well I suggest it is for many of the same reasons that Congressional Republicans are threatening to derail the current stimulus package in the face of near consensus from both left and right economists that something needs to be done and that currently the federal government is the only entity with the means (and hopefully the will) to do that something. These people would rather lose the battle and take all of the resulting collateral damage than give up the war.

What follows below the fold is just a reprise of my May 'What does Lenin' post, and really just is intended as a case study to illustrate the following question. Can we ever truly separate an economic argument from the underlying ideologies? Or are we doomed to simply fight the old politico-ideological battles in new economic uniforms? Or you could ask a parallel question. Why is Amity Shlaes et all still trying to beat up on FDR?

What does Lenin have to do with it?
It is clear to me that most of the people who are pushing privatization are fundamentally opposed to Social Democratic solutions generally. There is a large group of people who never liked the New Deal, continue to argue against historical evidence that it was a fundamental failure, they hated Social Security from the start, and indeed ran against it as their central platform plank in the election of 1936. They expected it would fail, they see the various rounds of tax increases over the years as proof that it will fail. The 1983 reform was particularly bitter to them, to the point that they gathered all the anti-Social Security folk to a conference in DC organized by Cato. The results of that conference were published in the Fall 1983 issue of Cato Journal under the title Social Security: Continuing Crisis or Real Reform but which might as well been called "Never again! We'll get you next time FDR!"

You can get a flavor of this by reading through the introduction. There is zero interest expressed in the idea that worker retirement be in any sense a social responsibility long term, instead Social Security is described entirely in terms of diluting investment and retirement planning and of increasing the ratio of labor costs to capital. Most telling is point 2 of their 8 point conclusion:
"2. Social Security is ultimately a manifestation of the welfare state. Real reform, therefore, may require constitutional change that effectively limits the taxing and spending powers of government."
The Cato types see it as welfare, they disagree with government welfare programs in general, and would like to see all of them vanish over time. To use the words of Newt Gingrich to see them "wither on the vine"

Now in reading this from 1983 you can see that these people, while a little bitter at missing their shot in 1982 when Social Security crisis hit, were convinced they would get another shot at some point. But they also saw they needed more than hope. They needed an alternative vehicle and they needed a plan. They had the alternative vehicle, the IRA-the Individual Retirement Account, and they got busy pushing those. But they also understood they needed to win the message war, and so they turned to strategy crafted by Stuart Germanis and Peter Butler. On the title page of the journal the article title was softened somewhat by prefacing it with 'Social Security Reform: but the article itself's title page was more blunt Achieving a "Leninist" Strategy. While they had the minimal grace to put Leninist in scare quotes a reading of the whole article revels that they meant it. At a certain risk to free use doctrine I am going to quote at some length.
Marx believed that capitalism was doomed by its inherent contradictions, and that it would inevitably collapse—to he replaced by the next stage on the ladder leading to the socialist Utopia.
Lenin also believed that capitalism was doomed by its inherent contradictions, and would inevitably collapse. But just to be on the safe side, he sought to mobilize the working class, in alliance with other key elements in political society, both to hasten the collapse and to ensure that the result conformed with his interpretation of the proletarian state. Unlike many other socialists at the time, Lenin recognized that fundamental change is contingent both upon a movement’s ability to create a focused political coalition and upon its success in isolating and weakening its opponents.

As we contemplate basic reform of the Social Security system, we would do well to draw a few lessons from the Leninist strategy. Many critics of the present system believe, as Marx and Lenin did of capitalism, that the system’s days are numbered because of its contra dictory objectives of attempting to provide both welfare and insureance. All that really needs to be done, they contend, is to point out these inherent flaws to the taxpayers and to show them that Social Security would be vastly improved if it were restructured into a predominantly private system. Convinced by the undeniable facts
and logic, individuals supposedly would then rise up and demand that their representatives make the appropriate reforms.

While this may indeed happen, the public’s reaction last year against politicians who simply noted the deep problems of the system, and the absence of even a recognition of the underlying problems during this spring’s Social Security “reform,” suggest that it will be a long time before citizen indignation will cause radical change to take place. Therefore, if we are to achieve basic changes in the system, we must first prepare the political ground so that the
fiasco of the last 18 months is not repeated

1. Create a political movement
2. Weaken and isolate your opponents
3. Prepare the public ground
Oh and make it clear that the 1983 Reform was in fact from your perspective a "fiasco"

I would urge anyone really interested in Social Security to read the plan in full. Because you will see that the Economic Right followed it to the hilt, for example you hear clear echoes of Butler and Germanis in every speech Bush has made on this. I am not sure that everyone that draws from the messaging plan created at that 1983 conference is as directly and openly cynical about means and motives as these two. Operationally it doesn't matter much. Butler and Germanis' is a hugely successful marketing scheme and it worked. Brilliantly. The old were reassured, the economic stakeholders were drawn on board, the young were convinced that Social Security just wouldn't be there for them, and all blame conveniently placed on the Boomers. Evil genius to be sure, but marketing genius none the less.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Trust Fund Monthly Reports: Nov update

OAS::Opening balance//Projected year end balance-Intermediate Cost//Y-O-Y Increase//Year end balance-Low Cost//Y-O-Y increase-Low Cost
$2.023 trillion // $2.216 trillion //$193 billion// $2.221 trillion// $198 billion

DI::Opening balance//Projected year end balance-Intermediate Cost//Y-O-Y Increase//Year end balance-Low Cost//Y-O-Y increase-Low Cost
$214.9 billion//$218.7 billion//$3.8 billion//$221.3 billion// $6.4 billion.
Per IV.A2 the opening balance for DI was $214 billion, projected year end under IC $218.7 billion, under LC $221.3 billion

June 30th/Mid-year: OAS $2.140 trillion// DI $220 billion

Aug 31st/Two-thirds: OAS $2.164 trillion// DI $219 billion

Sept 30th/Q3: OAS $2.177 trillion// DI $219 billion

Oct 30th/Five-sixths: OAS $2.187 trillion// DI $218 billion

Nov 30th/Eleven twelvths: OAS $2.197 trillion//DI $217.5 billion