US Posts Two Month Combined Surplus As Debt Rises By $137 Billion

Tyler Durden's picture

Moments ago, and a few hours ahead of the president's State of the Union speech, the FMS announced (with a 20 minutes early leak), that in January the deficit of the US government was in fact a surplus of some $2.883 billion, better than the expected $2 billion deficit. This was the first January surplus since 2008, and was an improvement on the already impressive $1.191 billion deficit from December, which in turn brings the total fiscal year to date deficit to $290 billion. On the surface this would be great news as it indicates that tax hikes are having an impact on the US budget surplus, but of course, a quick glance below the surface reminds us that January was the month during which the Treasury was forced to raid the various government retirement funds to fund operations, and otherwise operate under the debt ceiling, which was only hiked in the last days of the month. And another glance indicates something fishier: while December and January combined resulted in a surplus of some $1.7 billion on the book, a quick glance at the total US debt over the period, shows an increase of some $137 billion in the same time period (or at least through February 4, when the accurate debt picture was once again revealed). In other words, while the US government was arguably generating funds from operations over the past two months and thus did not need a single penny in outside funding, debt soared.

We are confident that Obama will be delighted to take credit for the former in a few hours, although we are not holding our breath on him explaining the latter, not explaining where all this debt went. Who knows: maybe JPM merely lent out their VaR calculating spreadsheet to the US treasury. It is not as if either of those two entities would lie to anyone.

Finally, since the start of tax refund issuance by the IRS had been delayed by several weeks, don't expect the surplus picture to repeat itself any time soon. Maybe, ever.

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Nid's picture what happens when the IRS starts issuins 2012 Tax refunds and Credits?

Nid's picture what happens when the IRS starts issuins 2012 Tax refunds and Credits?

pazmaker's picture

No one here on ZH files their taxes.

Blankenstein's picture

Lloyd is on CNBC trying to tell us everything is okay.  Oh and he is growing a beard.  

Say What Again's picture

I think LLLLLLLoyd just had a meeting with Mr. Dorner.

In fact, I'm 99% sure he has been posting on ZH.

Joebloinvestor's picture



More to spend on worthless shit.

ShrNfr's picture

Acceleration of income into 2012 and the final estimated tax submission date of 1/15 probably had more to do with it than anything else.

adr's picture

Can I claim the opposite on my tax return, that all my income was actually a loss and therefore the government owes me all of what they would have taken in taxes.

How the fuck do you increase debt, but have a surplus?

Oh yeah I forgot, publicy traded corporations do it all the time. They have billions in debt but made $125 million during a quarter. Even though they actually took out even more loans, they were recorded on a seperate ledger. Sometes debt is actually revenue.

I guess that is how I aced all my math classes but was always somehow wrong in economics. I guess they need to add Bernankanomics as a course so you can understand Wall Street math.

yogibear's picture

Food stamps will surpass 50 million. 

Yes we can!!!!!

SkottFree's picture

Just think ahead to April when that number will be adjusted down to a -2.8 Billion but no one will publish the truth only more rosy data!

ISEEIT's picture

Whatever Tyler... But isn't this like 'the new normal' or whatever?

Obama is like Lincoln and at least he isn't bush so I think you should be like...Patriotic or something and just let him do what he feels is best for us.

Know what I'm sayin?

buzzsaw99's picture

The $137B went to Wall Street bonuses.

Super Broccoli's picture

nearly 3 trillions in surplus ????

they over-raided pension funds ????

what a bunch of pathetic losers !

Mad Muppet's picture


ebworthen's picture

Why do they even make a pretense of accounting?

$85 Billion per month in FED QE to the banks, I'm amazed they are even marking the debit column.

Would have made a lot more sense to have a debt jubilee or send every taxpayer $1 Million to stimulate the economy but that wouldn't have rewarded the banksters here and abroad and maintained the debt slavery for us Plebeians, eh?


slightlyskeptical's picture

They are actually buying all the bonds outstanding. Soon most every dollar of American interest paid will flow through the Fed.  $20 trillion at 4% is $800 billion. Maybe thats how they plan to close the deficit and erase the debt? It actually makes more sense than paying private bankers.

misnomer's picture

The fact that the very first sentence in that report is "since January 1st, 2013 was a holiday,outlays for military active duty and retirement,
Veterans' benefits, and Supplemental Security Income were moved to December 31, 2012."

So, in fact, it just comes down to creative accounting, which is the modus operandi of all government.  Shuffle around the numbers until you get the answer you want.


SheepDog-One's picture

HOORAY! We're all doing so well now! I'm all 'OMG-in' !

Shizzmoney's picture

Finally, since the start of tax refund issuance by the IRS had been delayed by several weeks

Which is why I didn't my taxes ASAP.  Already got my refund.  Wanted to make sure i got it before the govt goes insolvent/fails.

L_Conquistador's picture

I wonder how many people took advantage of the 2010 election (a) to convert an IRA to a Roth and (b) to recognize 1/2 of the the ordinary income in each of 2011 and 2012.   My wife and I did, and I wrote my biggest check ever to the IRS, on Jan. 15, 2013 (4th Q '12 estimated payment).  

This money will never be taxed on the back-end (so they say).

L_Conquistador's picture

In other news, the FMS announced - just in time for the SOTU - that NK did not test a nuke, but if the did, that Gangam Style video was the reason.

trendybull459's picture injoy your last freedoms,read why in the near future you all will be leaving under much worth leader that Stalin was,Elite should prepare testoments,your last days counted FED,prepare for changes,working for change!Because most of you worthening midlle class conditions,you are blind in your greedy habits to leave some change to poor and middle,then you will loose all like it was many times in hystory under the New Order which not you,others will do very soon!

nmewn's picture

An expanding (good) contraction (bad)...its absolutely Orwellian.

crtune's picture

This sort of bizarre situation can come from looking at the current deficit via the governernment operations, which likely DO NOT show the Social Security fund flows into the Treasury, and the related issue of debt for that.   This should track with the "Public Debt" portion of the Total Debt.

On the other side there is the "Intragovernmental Debt" which is issued as IOU for the funds used by operations, which are rightfully owed back to the SS fund and other retirement funds (all this inward flow is immediately used by general government, and a special, non-negotiable form of treasury debt is places in trust for these retirement funds).

So, normally when you fully reconcile the Public portion and the Intragovernmental portion of the Total Debt with the deficit and activity in retirement funds, these odd ball things are able to be explained. 

The upshot is that the government is still spending at an absurd rate.