METHODOLOGY

First, some background. I’ve been tracking the US federal debt for about a decade now. I started off using the Treasury’s “debt to the penny” site, checking in every month just to see what the monthly change was. Although I knew there would be timing differences, I just assumed that delta debt was a fairly good indicator for monthly deficit. Unfortunately, for a lot of reasons, nothing ever tied to the published deficit numbers, and during the 2008 fiscal crisis, the correlation just went nuts. So, I dug into the details, and stumbled across what is known as the Daily Treasury Statement , or DTS.

The DTS is a little nugget of gold…essentially a daily cash flow statement of the US government. It has hundreds of daily data points…cash in, cash out, daily, monthly, year to date. It is the financial history book of the United States…and they go back to 1999, so we can compare a few of those “surplus” years to today. To me, it is all very interesting. I could probably write a book about it, but let’s be honest…nobody reads books anymore, so i have decided to live blog the debt. Perhaps not as interesting as an election, but as an accountant, the number of semi-interesting things I have the expertise to blog about is quite limited….