Analysis of the Deficit, Fiscal Cliff, and US Debt
Daily US Deficit For 1/9/2013
The US Daily Deficit for 1/9/2013 was $10B primarily due to $11.5B of social security payments made yesterday. Social Security payments of around $58B per month go out in four monthly batches. The first goes out on the third of the month…usually about $25B. The next three batches go out on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Wednesday’s of the month and are around $11B each. This timing issue makes comparing year on year numbers throughout the month a little tricky. For example…in 2012, the second Wednesday of the month was 1/11, compared to 1/9 this year. Looking at the charts below, you can see that January 2013 outlays are a full $18B ahead of 2012 through 9 days, which is a pretty big increase. However, around $10B of that is due to SS timing. Revenue continues to pace ahead of 2012 and cost is a bit ahead, even after adjusting some for timing. All in all, through 9 days everything is looking pretty much in line with last year with increased revenues being offset by increased cost.
I don’t expect a lot of excitement for the remainder of the month deficit wise, but there will be a large surplus….maybe next Tuesday. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it is related to income tax witholding…wild guess is that for some entities, taxes withheld from paychecks are sent in on a specific date a few weeks after a quarter closes?? Whatever it is, expect a spike in revenues on that day of around $15-20B.
The “Debt Limit Cushion” is at $47.4B, and shrinking roughly at the expected pace. Using last year as a guide, we only get to 2/3, not 2/15 like the last projection I saw…I will reiterate that I do not have enough data to accurately model “Extrordinary Measures” but last year, the cash deficit between 2/1 and 2/15 was $174B. Need I point out that we currently have $47B in hand, and three weeks left in January? I will continue to keep my eye out though….what I expect to see is a substantial reduction in imaginary “Intragovernmental” debt, currently at 4.856T, offset entirely by an increase in external debt exchanged for cash. Effectively what they would do is push that debt off balance sheet, ignore it, and then issue new debt for cash, technically staying under the limit. Just a little bit shady, but nothing in comparison to the “Trillion Dollar Coin”…don’t get me started.