US Daily Deficit
Issued every day at 4pm, the Daily Treasury Statement (DTS) is essentially a daily cash flow statement for the United States Government. Unlocking the DTS unearths a goldmine of real time data on government revenues, outlays, deficits, cash balances and debt outstanding. I personally believe that of all the data available, the DTS data set is the best reflection of reality because it is cash based and reported in almost real time, which minimizes the chances of any government accounting funny business. So without further ado, let's take a look at the DTS for 12/14/2012.
12/14 is an interesting day to start the Daily Deficit because among other things, we posted a $19.8B Surplus for the day. This brings the deficit for the month of December down to $24B through 14 days, an apparent $38B improvement over December 2011 through 14 days.
That may sound good, but most of the apparent improvement this month is due to timing. First off, about $30B of payments for 12/1 went out 11/30 because of the weekend, and second, the timing of corporate income taxes, due 12/15, was also thrown off by the weekend, but this should work itself out of the noise in the next day or two.
Now let's take a look at Revenue and Outlays, which of course we subtract to get to the deficit. Revenue for 12/14 was $30.9B, making it the highest revenue haul since 9/17. The key driver in both of these dates, as mentioned above is the quarterly corporate income tax due around the 15th the third month in every quarter. Also adding to revenues was an $8B contribution from TARP, the gift that keeps on giving, at least from a deficit perspective. When analyzing the deficit from a cash perspective, we counted TARP as a deficit when the cash went out the door in 2008/2009. However, that money wasn't really all lost, as a sizable portion of TARP was, and continues to be paid back. Today's $8B payment is the first significant payment of this fiscal year. FY 2012 had a total of $66B, so the run rate seems to be slowing exactly as one would expect.
Through 14 days, December 2012 revenue is running $14B behind last year, though I suspect this is all timing related to how the weekend fell versus last year. I'll be more impressed if the number holds through this Friday.
Moving on, total outlays for the day were $11B with the only significant outlay being $2.8B for Military Active Duty Pay. This brought the December 2012 total to $143B, $23B under last year, primarily due to timing.
All in all, 12/14 was a pretty good day from a deficit perspective. At the end of the day, debt outstanding was reduced $10.B and cash in hand increased $10B, bringing the debt limit cushion(Cash + borrowing ability) to $112B. Look to see another sizable surplus 12/17 and above average revenues for the rest of the week. I will do some more forecasting at the end of the week when we have a more complete data set, but for now, I am still estimating the December 2012 deficit comes in somewhere around $30B.