US August Budget Deficit Soars To $192 Billion, $1.17 Trillion In Fiscal 2012

Tyler Durden's picture

While the official number from the FMS is not out yet, according to an advance look by the CBO, the August deficit soared from a modest $70 billion to a whopping $192 billion, the highest August deficit in history, and coming at a time when traditionally the US Treasury does not generate substantial deficits. It also means that "that" $59 billion budget surplus in April, coming after 42 straight months of deficits, and which surprised so many, was just as we suspected, nothing but a play on the temporal mismatch between treasury receipts and outlays. Most importantly, with one month left in the fiscal year, a month which, too, will likely come well above last year's $63 billion, the US has now spent $1.165 trillion more than it has received via various taxes. Finally so much for the year over year improvement: at $1.23 trillion deficit in the LTM period, this is only 3.2% less than the August 2011 LTM deficit which was $1.27 trillion, despite nearly 2 million more workers employed (at least according to the BLS) and generating tax revenue. Expect the US to end Fiscal 2012 with a total deficit of well over $1.2 trillion, which in turn means that the average burn rate of $100 billion in new debt issuance each month, will continue into the indefinite future.

As a reminder...

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LetThemEatRand's picture

The train is off the rails and all we are all supposed to care about which conductor is going to get the driver job.  Notice the direction of the red line in the bottom chart when big O took office.   We met the new boss.  Now who will the new boss be?

lolmao500's picture

The train is not totally off the rails yet. But soon it will be. I give it 3 years max.

Van Halen's picture

Bah! This is nothing another four years of Obama's budgetary expertise can't fix!

economics9698's picture

3-5 years.  October 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, looks like 2013 is going to be rough.




When massive amounts of liquidity are created it take time...


LetThemEatRand's picture

As a government contractor, what is your Plan B economics9698?  Or are you private sector now?

TruthInSunshine's picture

Governments, with the aiding & abetting of central banks, are screwing their citizens over worse than they have in many, many decades (and in some cases, generations), by taxing savers (via artifically low and repressive interest rates), as I've written many times here on ZH, such as here:



And then, tonight, lo & behold, The New York Times prints an article on this matter, although they try to paint this 'strategy' as benignly as possible:

Low Interest Rates Benefit Governments, but Not Savers
  • As Low Rates Depress Savers, Governments Reap Benefits
By Published: September 10, 2012

A consumer complaint is ricocheting around the world: low interest rates are eating away at savings.



Though bad for people trying to live off their savings, low interest rates happen to be quite good for anyone borrowing money, like governments themselves. Over time, interest rates below the inflation rate allow governments to refinance, erode or liquidate their debt, making it easier to live within their budgets without having to resort to more unpalatable spending cuts or tax increases.

Along with keeping rates low, governments are using a variety of tactics to encourage captive audiences, like pension funds and banks, to buy their debt. Consumers, in other words, are subtly subsidizing governments without even knowing it. Economists have compared this phenomenon to a hidden tax on people’s wealth.

“If you ask a central banker is that what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, they’ll say ‘No, we’re just trying to get the economy going by making it easier for the private sector to borrow,’ ” said Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse. “But I have a syllogism for you: The government makes the rules. The government needs the money. So why should it surprise if the rules encourage you to lend the government money?”

This is not the first time governments have benefited by depressing interest rates, something economists refer to by the ominous name of “financial repression.”

In the three and a half decades after World War II, interest rates in the developed world were on average below zero after adjusting for inflation, according to Carmen M. Reinhart, a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. This helped Europe, the United States and Japan slowly whittle away much of their war debt as their economies grew faster than their debt burden.

“The difference is that the postwar period was one of strong growth, when rebuilding and capital investment was going on across the Continent, and there were strong demographics,” said Stefan Hofrichter, the chief economist at Allianz Global Investors. “But these elements are not necessarily in place today.”

For that reason, economists are less certain that the success of the strategy will be repeated.

Many major economies are already slowing down, if not outright contracting. And the actions taken by governments to keep interest rates low can restrain how much savers have to spend and force fragile banks and pension funds to take on more risk. Ultimately, it could crowd out private borrowing.

Governments have different mechanisms to keep their borrowing costs artificially low.

The Chinese government can just make a call to banks and dictate how much they will lend and at what interest rate.

“By forcing them to lend at low interest rates, China’s central bank is taxing banks at high rates,” said Nicholas R. Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “They make it up to the banks by dictating that banks pay depositors even lower rates, so consumers are getting taxed too.”

yogibear's picture

If you thought this is a huge deficit, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Daily Bail's picture

This clip has ridiculously high entertainment value.  And the Secret Service is now involved.

INSTANT CLASSIC - Watch A Not Very Bright DNC Delegate Threaten To Kill Mitt Romney
spentCartridge's picture

My oh my, ever the optimist ain't we?

Western's picture

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.


Pay no attention to the people shuffling about behind stage.

Silver Bug's picture

That is a disgusting amount of debt to accumalte in one year. Compounding interest is only going to make this accelerate faster and faster sadly.

BandGap's picture

got to get some more ammo.

LMAOLORI's picture



America Is Using Tricks To Hide A Debt Crisis Worse Than Greece

World debt comparison

The global debt clock Our interactive overview of government debt across the planet

Notice we're in the :) Red! 


    Daily Bail's picture

    National debt talking points.  Fucking talking points.

    Editor's note: Publication of this clip is a statement on the incorrigibly egregious, generational-pillaging hypocrisy of the Washington spending establishment, and is not an endorsement of the Romney-Ryan ticket or any other part of the false Left-Right U.S. Bankruptcy Machine.

    $16,000,000,000,000.00bama Talking Points
    dbomb12's picture

    Actually we are in worse shape, let,s not forget once the dollar loses reserve currency status which is well on it,s way the U.S is burnt toast

    Bay of Pigs's picture

    Where's kito and USD bulls to tell you you've got it all completely wrong.

    The DOELARR will somehow rise like the Pheonix from the Ashes.

    malikai's picture

    It's true. When we're burning them to keep warm, they will 'rise from the ashes'. I hope you have lots of $1 bills.

    LMAOLORI's picture



    Yup and let's not forget

    Obama's Budget Has One Small, Missing Piece.... For $6.3 Trillion Dollars

    Chippewa Partners's picture

    It's all about the math.    On a long enough timeline the math will always work.

    tickhound's picture

    'the more debt you have, the wealthier you are' - serial hero from the left

    'deficits don't matter' - serial hero from the right

    FreedomGuy's picture

    'To infinity and beyond!!!"

    -Buzz Lightyear

    Who knew he was an intergalactic keynesian?!?

    A Lunatic's picture

    Give OBastard some credit as he did manage to cut some things in half before his term expired. The Middle Class, the economy, jobs, my patience...............

    takeaction's picture

    I liked your post, I stole it and posted it on my faceplant account.  Thanks

    Bobportlandor's picture

    Add to that his term in office.

    guinea's picture

    China's president-to-be Xi Jinping has vanished for 10 days now, leaving Hillary Clinton, the Singaporeans and Danes hanging.  The transition of power was supposed to happen in a month. 

    Shit is getting real. 

    q99x2's picture

    Maybe that is a good thing. Imagine if Bernanke, Blankfein, Dimon and for that matter Washington D.C. got abducted by aliens to another galaxy far far away. Do you think anyone would miss them?

    dbomb12's picture

    I heard they sent him to a North Korean labor camp

    Bernankenstein's picture

    No, he is currently in the U.S. posing for the upcoming new image on the dollar bill. 

    lolmao500's picture

    But but but... if the government doesn't spend, the society will collapse!

    LMAOLORI's picture



    Snicker Bizarro World black is white

    dbomb12's picture

    Bad is good and good is bad

    CrimsonAvenger's picture

    Joking aside, think what happens to GDP when you remove 1.2T in deficit spending (remembering that government spending is included in the GDP calc). Remove that deficit spending and GDP drops by 8%, probably more with multiplier effects. It's gonna get ugly.

    I'm not saying we should deficit spend - we shouldn't, and it's about damn time we took our medicine. But just understand that when we cut that much spending, society will at least get knocked to its knees.

    dbomb12's picture

    The longer they wait the Uglier it will get, just postponing the inevitable

    lolmao500's picture

    Yep. What needs to be done won't be done... so it'll get to a point where the government will have to cut 50-60% of the federal budget overnight, instantly creating a depression and a massive one at that.

    It'll be... Total budget - deficit - debt servicing - some more because of the multiplier effect of cutting the budget = what you can spend.... right now, that would mean...

    3.796 trillion - 1.327 trillion - 454 billion (2011) - ??? = 2 trillion - multiplier effect... so let's say 1.9 trillion... so right now, if they cut the deficit, it would mean a 50% budget cut overnight...

    Total gdp : 15.606 trillion Total cuts : 1.881 trillion  Cuts as % of GDP : 12%... Right there you got a massive depression. And remember how bad it was in 2008-2009? Well the GDP only went down 3% at most. Now imagine at least 4 times that... yeah...

    But this doesn't end there... the thing is, Washington is gonna continue their crap till the bond market says ENOUGH... that means HIGHER DEBT... and HIGHER DEBT SERVICING COSTS... 

    So cutting the budget 50% overnight is if things were fixed TOMORROW... you bet when they really gonna have to do it, it'll be more like 60-70%... the longer it goes, the worse it will be...

    That's why DHS is arming itself... they know when it hits the fan, it'll really hits the fan.

    Poor Grogman's picture

    They will never cut, they will print...

    Every fiat ends that way eventually, inflated away without exception.

    LMAOLORI's picture



    I wasn't joking look at the language they use it to obscure the truth.  These day's the title of an article in the MSM has little or no bearing as to what is actually inside it. Double speak the politicians have that down to an art i.e., social security "entitlement" used as if it's a welfare program when in fact it is a legally enforceable debt  and our constitution says...


    Sect. 4 of the 14th Amendment. It reads in part:

    ”… .the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law… shall not be questioned”


    And second, there is this Criminal Mischief statute

    18 US 1361. Government property or contracts

    Whoever willfully injures or commits any depredation against any property of the United States, or of any department or agency thereof, or any property which has been or is being manufactured or constructed for the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or attempts to commit any of the foregoing offenses, shall be punished as follows:

    If the damage or attempted damage to such property exceeds the sum of $1,000, by a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both; if the damage or attempted damage to such property does not exceed the sum of $1,000, by a fine under this title or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.”



    vs. people are entitled to get back the money they were forced to pay in but hey it keeps the plebs fighting.

    FreedomGuy's picture

    The GDP formula is bad and it runs the whole world. Government should be subtracted, not added to private GDP and trade numbers should always be zero. What one side gains in currency it loses in goods so trade is always net zero.

    So, when the whole world runs on a bad formula it is like sending off a moon landing with bad physics. It is a matter of time till Houston starts seeing serious problems.

    Poor Grogman's picture

    Also consider that the more people are suing each other, getting divorced, using their credit card, Going into hospital, having plastic surgery or otherwise spending money they don't have.

    The better the GDP numbers look!

    Between the twin evils of GDP "statistics" and "fictional reserve banking" our society is really in deep doo- doo.

    Newager23's picture

    CrimsonAvenger nails it. No one in Washington is talking about it (and it was not mentioned at either political convention), but the deficit is the only reason the ecomomy is growing. But using debt to maintain growth is not a solution, and soon we are no longer going to be able to borrow $100 billion a month to stay out of recession/depression.

    It's obvious to most of us here a ZH that we are in a countdown to economic catastrophe. Those Chicago teachers have no idea what is coming, or else they would not have turned down a raise. Soon, anyone will be smilling who is offered a raise. To have a job will be something to be grateful for, and strikes will soon be a thing of the past.

    We will keep our huge budget deficit as long as we can, but the clock is ticking and a black swan event is coming. I can hear it, tick, tick tick.








    LMAOLORI's picture


    Those teachers are already the highest paid in the nation and they turned down 16% in today's economy and it's not like Illinois has low taxes.  Those public unions have way too much influence over the power of the purse.

    IL: Taxpayer advocate says Chicago teachers’ salaries ‘out of the world’

    Just Ice's picture



    Average $76K salary for 9 months work, excluding pension and benefits...typical pigs (oink, oink, slop, greed, slop) while feeding at the public trough. 

    booboo's picture

    Free cheese train is gonna jump the rails and then what?

    PeterSchump's picture

    Mittens said he will eliminate the deficit by the end of his second term today. I believe him.

    LMAOLORI's picture



    I bet you believed obama 

    Obama’s Broken Deficit Promise


    “This is big,” wrote White House director of new media Macon Phillips in a February 23, 2009 blog post, ”the President today promised that by the end of his first term, he will cut in half the massive federal deficit we’ve inherited. And we’ll do it in a new way: honestly and candidly.”

    Indeed, President Obama did make that promise that day, saying, “today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. 

    PeterSchump's picture

    I did. I also believe I have no propensity for sarcasm.

    Curt W's picture

    and now they have Bill Clinton in the campaign commercial, talking about what got us in trouble in the first place.

    HELLO  Bill, you signed NAFTA, tore apart Glass-Stengle, borrowed $500 Billion from Social Security, did not pay into the Public Employee Pension Plan, convinced Fannie and Freddie that everybody should own a home whether they could afford it or not, let the first attack on the World Trade Center go unpunished.

    Bill, You were a major contributer, to todays problems.