US Daily Cash Deficit 10/4/2013

The US Daily Cash Surplus for Friday 10/4/2013 was $4.5B pulling the October 2013 Deficit through 4 days down to $50B. Cash Outlays were extraordinarily low…coming in at only $5.7B….. you have to go back all the way to May 2011 for a lower daily number. Not sure if that’s an anomaly, or somehow related to the “shutdown”…maybe the accounts payable group was deemed non-essential….thus, thus slowing down the payment process? Or maybe they are just slow paying to conserve cash…businesses do it all the time, why not Uncle Sam?

To the Charts: Full disclosure…I decided to go ahead and sync up October 2012 to 2013. October 2012 started on a Monday, October 2013 started on a Tuesday. Since revenues and outlays are generally correlated with the day of the week, I will just go ahead and add the extra day in 2012 into our charts. For example, today, we will be comparing 4 business days of 2013 (10/1 to 10/4) to 5 business days of 2012 (10/1 to 10/5) both ending on a Friday. 2013 will catch up on the last day of the month. Granted, this isn’t a perfect YOY comparison, but perfect simply doesn’t exist.

10-04-2013 USDD

Revenues are down still but making some progress in catching up to 2012, while cost is looking really good….almost suspiciously good as noted above.  Cash in hand grew about $4.5B on the surplus and is currently sitting at $29B…right about where Treasury is saying it will be on 10/17. I would expect to post another surplus Monday 10/7, before slipping back into deficits 10/8-10. Again…nothing big for the rest of the month, just moderate weekly deficits slowly whittling down the cash balance. I would note there is likely a bit of “EM” magic left to play…I guess we’ll find out soon enough.


Default on Debt vs. Default of “Obligations”

If you listen to the news or read any article, there is a lot of hype around this 10/17 “default” date. “The US has never defaulted….this would be catastrophic”…they all claim.

So first we need to discuss what we mean by default. As discussed in The Debt Limit Will Be Raised, looking at the first full month…November, the government will still have about $200B of revenues coming in, but about $330B of scheduled cash outflows. So we really aren’t talking about the federal government grinding to a stop…just being forced to live within it’s means. Most (but not all) of the commentators are being careful with their words…saying we would default on out “obligations”…which I suppose means all currently planned government spending (is it a default if I decide to eat in instead of taking the family out to dinner tomorrow night?).

We should be very clear however, that the federal government will have more than enough cash inflows to cover all interest payments and continue to roll current debt as it expires. Over the past 12 months, the government had $3.058T of cash revenues….and only $225B of cash interest payments…a coverage ratio of over 13X.

So…this is extremely clear… any technical default on bona fide on the books debt…will be a completely voluntary event. I have read some articles saying the treasury system simply is not set up to prioritize payments….basically first in, first out. To that I say…BS.

But on the other hand…default on “obligations”…is definitely imminent. In November, there will be a ~$130B cash shortfall if treasury isn’t allowed to issue debt….more than 1/3 of scheduled cash outflows. The only think that even comes close to that is cancelling Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid….not exactly a solid 2014 election platform….which is why I still expect the debt limit to be raised, probably before it comes an issue, but if not, by early November.

I’ve been saying for nearly a year now that the US will ultimately default on both on and off balance sheet debt. We have reached a point where the promises made for debt and social programs are simply impossible to ever make good on. I still think it is unlikely that October 2013 is the date of that default. (not that it will be one date…probably a long drawn string of broken promises) So to wrap it up…default will happen and default needs to happen…..but what is going on now is just political gamesmanship, so sit back and enjoy the show. Odds are, they will raise the limit, and agree to shave a few billion off the 10 year deficit at some date to be determined….ensuring an even bigger and “badder” default at some point in the future.  Note to self…”don’t lend Uncle Sam any money”

US Daily Cash Deficit 10/3/2013

The US Daily Cash Deficit for 10/3/2013 was $28B on typically weak Thursday revenues and $24B of social security payments.

10-03-2013 USDD

After starting in a $10B hole, revenue has made some progress, narrowing the gap to $8B….we need to get to about +$20B by month end to show 10% growth. Still plenty of time, and we’ve been seeing stronger revenues in the second half of the month over prior years for some reason. Outlays are down, primarily from timing, but also about $3B so far of bona fide reductions. Don’t blame (or credit) that on the shutdown though…those paychecks wouldn’t even go out for a week or two anyway. 800k workers at $75k per year pencils out to $60B per year, $5B per month, and about $250M per day of savings…or lost wages… It’s not chump change, but it’s hardly material.

Cash was down $33B from $57B 10/2 to $24B 10/3. Looking at the rest of the month, there really aren’t any large inflows or outflows left on the calendar other than the next 3 social security payments and a ~$7B or so of corporate tax revenues around the 15th. Other than that, I’d just expect moderate deficits and surpluses most days as we slowly march up to ~$90B or so. Also looking at the calendar…I noticed that 11/3, when the first ~$25B  social security payment of November is due is a Sunday, which means it will go out Friday 11/1 instead. This makes it likely that 11/1 is a pretty solid guess for the absolute latest the debt limit deal must be reached. It could obviously still happen before then, but making it past 11/1 and those $60B or so of outflows looks unlikely unless treasury has more “EM” magic left than they have been letting on.

**So much for government shutdown savings….I just read that an agreement has been reached to pay people to not work….seriously…this is the only damn thing they can agree on…to pay people not to work!! So we shut down the government, the monuments ect, take people’s blackberries and order them not to work…..then agree to pay them to not work. Sounds to me like being a “nonessential” government worker is turning out to be a pretty sweet gig. Is it really a surprise to anyone we can’t get our fiscal house in order?

US Daily Cash Deficit 10/2/2013

The US Daily Cash Surplus for 10/2/2013 was $7.1B pulling the October Deficit through 2 days down to $27B.

10-02-2013 USDD

Revenues look like they staged a comeback after being down $10B yesterday, but it’s really just timing….10/2/2012 was a Tuesday, which generally has weak revenues while 10/2/2013 was a Wednesday, which generally has strong(er) revenues. I may sync the days up after the weekend….it’s not perfect, but it will give us a bit better YOY comparison once we get into the middle of the month. For now, we are comparing 2 days of October 2013 to 2 days of October 2012.

Outlays look to be down $6B….but about $5B of interest due 9/30 was paid 10/1 last year…pulling that out, we are more or less in line.

Cash was up $7B on the surplus to $58B which is good because we are likely to post a ~$30B deficit 10/3 as the first round of Social Security payments go out. Just eyeballing it, it looks like there may be about $40B of extraordinary measures left in the tank. If that’s true(??)…It looks to me like we can probably make it past 10/17, but probably not past the heavy outflows of early November…ending with the 11/3 $25B Social Security payment. At that point, all you have to spend is your incoming cash, leaving an average shortfall of $60-70B per month, though the actual shortfalls/surpluses swing drastically from month to month. Coincidentally….Social Security is about $62B….cut that and crisis averted, budget balanced. Who wants to run on that in 2014? Didn’t think so!!

US Daily Cash Defict 10/1/2013

It’s not really a surprise, but the day after we post a $24B surplus….we go and post a $33.7B deficit to kick off October.

10-01-2013 USDD

It’s a bit early to really start doing YOY comparisons, but we can immediately see that revenue is starting in a $10B hole. What has probably happened is that timing has pulled about $10B into September…helping to post that rather impressive 14% YOY gain. Unfortunately, we’ll probably see the other side of that in October, so when you average them out, it may not be so impressive after all.

Cash in hand was down $38B to $51B with a $25B social security payment set to be paid Thursday. According to Treasury, we have about 2 weeks before things start getting hairy…stay tuned.