US Closes 2011 With Record $15.22 Trillion In Debt, Officially At 100.3% Debt/GDP, $14 Billion From Breaching Debt Ceiling

Tyler Durden's picture


While not news to Zero Hedge readers who knew about the final debt settlement of US debt about 10 days ahead of schedule, it is now official: according to the US Treasury, America has closed the books on 2011 with debt at an all time record $15,222,940,045,451.09. And, as was observed here first in all of the press, US debt to GDP is now officially over 100%, or 100.3% to be specific, a fact which the US government decided to delay exposing until the very end of the calendar year. We wonder, rhetorically, just how prominent of a talking point this historic event will be in any upcoming GOP primary debates. And yes, technically this number is greater than the debt ceiling but it excludes various accounting gimmicks. When accounting for those, the US has a debt ceiling buffer of... $14 billion, or one third the size of a typical bond auction.

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Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:11 | 2030606 DoChenRollingBearing
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$15 tn debt works out to about $124,000 per taxpayer.  How will that be paid?  It won't, at least in real terms.

Jubilee/default or hyperinflation.  Both?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:18 | 2030621 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And if everybody moves out of the country, the last sucker to leave will have to foot the entire bill!!!


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:48 | 2030683 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

Yep, that's one hell of a bar tab to get stuck with.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:53 | 2030846 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Whatdaya mean how? We monetize causing not only more spending but interest rates to plunge! What could possibly be wrong with this picture? Wait 'till the USA get's it share of the millions of Islamic refugees from all the wars Anderson Cooper has demanded we wage! I can't think of a better place for all of them to settle than New York City now that we know the Mayor has ordered their Mosques so loaded with listening devices they can't even hear themselves thinking anymore!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:13 | 2030887's picture

$15 tn debt works out to about $124,000 per taxpayer.  How will that be paid?  It won't, at least in real terms.


And then there's the $100 trillion to $200 trillion in unfunded Social Security, Medicare and Veteran's Benefits over the next thirty years.

Ron Paul 2012. If not now, when?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 21:02 | 2031035 supafuckinmingster
supafuckinmingster's picture

"Ron Paul 2012. If not now, when?"


He's 76. So if not now, probably be honest.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 21:06 | 2031058's picture

If we don't reign in spending now, when will we? The canoe is heading for the falls. Backpaddle!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 21:02 | 2031034 non_anon
non_anon's picture

just do your part and be a "tax protester", of course be prepared to be NDAA'ed and wearing stripes, not pin stripes unless you walk among the well heeled

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:58 | 2030550 Thomas
Thomas's picture

See above. First off, to be comparable to a post world war is not great shakes. Second, we got to rebuild the world. (Seems likely not to repeat here.) Third, how many unfunded liabilities did they have? Probably none. Now? $200 trillion of Kotlikoff is correct.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:01 | 2030564 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

The "unfunded liabilities" will be sent to the FEMA camps along with all other unproductive assets/tenants of the corporation of America.

Wake up thomas. 

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:09 | 2030599 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

I cook a mean spaghetti & meatballs... That's gotta count for something dammit!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:18 | 2030623 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

It does if you have the grain and meat to make the meatballs and spaghetti, otherwise, not so much.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:41 | 2030667 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Care for some gopher?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:01 | 2030868 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Got a good recipe for frying up CongressCritter? 

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:23 | 2030631 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

About 60 million Italians who totally agree with you....


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:21 | 2030900 yabyum
yabyum's picture

I would rather eat the homecooked meal of a poor Italian than any Mcdonalds , KFC, Arbeys. Taco bell or ( fill in the blank_______) on Earth!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:17 | 2030608 Evil Bugeyes
Evil Bugeyes's picture

The WWII debt/GDP ratio was mainly reduced by inflation, which caused noninal GDP to expand. Ron Paul's sound money policies would tend to preclude this option.

The US also had much stronger real GDP growth in the postwar period than we have experienced recently, and it didn't have a huge crop of baby-boomers about to retire and start claiming Social Security and Medicare benefits.

All in all, I think with RP we would be very lucky to maintain the debt/GDP ratio constant. But this is much more than we could expect from the other candidates.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:22 | 2030628 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

The U.S. also had abundant oil the was EASY to extract (meaning that the capital and energy required to extract the resource was much less than the energy released by the recovered material).  Not the case anymore, drill all you want, when the capital and energy costs make it unprofitable than a true "capitalist" won't touch it.  Good thing the U.S. has kleptocapitalism where only certain folks can steal and not go to jail.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:03 | 2030659 Manthong
Manthong's picture

You can’t even begin to compare our present situation to after WWII



·         After the war we were an industrial powerhouse in a bombed out world

·         We had prestige and the world both respected and feared us

·         We had a strong currency

·         We were the only ones with the bomb (until 1949) land until the 60’s we were way ahead in atomic, electronic and industrial technology

·         We didn’t have a huge illegal population

·         We were not confused as to who we were

·         We didn’t have 40% of the population receiving government benefits

·         We had a productive natural resource sector with yet to be tapped potential

·         We had our way with foreign sources of minerals and energy

·         We had a degree of integrity and as yet reasonably Constitutional governance

·         The average 12 year old girl never saw a video of an air-tight

·         The US of A was a different country on a different planet

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:44 | 2030823 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Any comparison of economic conditions from today to a post WW2 US are just ridiculous. 

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:53 | 2030843 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

"The average 12 year old girl never saw a video of an air-tight"

Nobody right after WWII saw a video of an air-tight.

Closest was donkey show in TJ.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 22:31 | 2031343 Manthong
Manthong's picture

That was a less than elegant statment.. I got a little carried away trying to be snide.

To rephrase the sentiment: The average 16 year old thought that a penis in a mouth was sex.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:59 | 2030857 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

I agree. Back then "we were white and we were right." Now look at us. What happened? From triumphal bigots to mongrel losers in just a few short years. I've had it! I'm

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:52 | 2030992 trav7777
trav7777's picture


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:20 | 2030898 xela2200
xela2200's picture

You said it. Why do people keep on drawing comparison to WW2? Different world all together. Nothing good comes out of war ever.

sun Tzu said that war should not be taken lightly as its outcome is NEVER certain.

We have 7 Billion people on the planet, and We are starting to reach scarcity in some of our resources (oil, silver, copper). A World War now would be the mother of all wars. Death toll could be in the billions. Furthermore, it took Germany, Japan, etc almost 60 year to rebuild. It would probably take us 200 years to rebuild that if we still have what to rebuild with.

How can politicians and war industry in country with so much debt can even consider taking on Iran or any other country as an aggressor is really immoral. The kids dying are the dumb ass kids in the 7-11 parking lot asking me to buy beer for him. Not the congressperson's kid mind You. For oil and money? Fuck it. I say let's drop to been the 10 economic power of the world and let's have a kick ass standard of living. Fat, chunky, smart mouth, brats that eat hamburgers and Mr. Pib while they play X-Box.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 21:09 | 2031070 supafuckinmingster
supafuckinmingster's picture

"How can politicians and war industry in country with so much debt can even consider taking on Iran or any other country as an aggressor is really immoral. The kids dying are the dumb ass kids in the 7-11 parking lot asking me to buy beer for him. Not the congressperson's kid mind You"


.............that's the way it always has been brotha....

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:43 | 2030950 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

We didn't have as many politicians bought off by elites.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:51 | 2030989 trav7777
trav7777's picture

the US hadn't even hit peak IRON in 1945.  This nation was blessed with arguably the BEST reserves of nearly everything on the planet.  Except platinum, that's the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

Best land, best water, best oil, best all of it.

And we didn't have diversity then either.  Therefore that entire society is rejected as evil.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 22:47 | 2031385 dolph9
dolph9's picture

Whatever.  Percentage wise there were alot more natives in 1945, blacks were about the same.  Not nearly as many Asians or Mexicans, that is true.

But back then "whites" wasn't as meaningful as a term.  There were WASPs and Germans and Jews and Italians and Irish and who knows how many others.  And alot of class differences and warfare between them.  Look it up, German Americans were interned just like the Japanese.

This idea of a utopian society that existed in the past is typical of a declining country, with that I agree.  Just like Brits who could never accept that their Empire was gone.

All things, good or bad, come to an end.

Wed, 01/04/2012 - 04:24 | 2032120 deKevelioc
deKevelioc's picture

Then we discovered the joys of off-balance sheet accounting.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:38 | 2030810 Banjo
Banjo's picture

After WWII the US economy was >53% of the world. The us made and exported stuff. The debt was internal not to foreigners.

But you're right we will make it through just like after WWII if only
- we vote in xyz
- something polarizing about welfare or socialism
- something polarizing about free markets or capitalism

America has lost the ability to have rational balanced and well informed debate on the economy. Everyone wins corporate and welfare till TSHTF!!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:22 | 2030904 Samsonov
Samsonov's picture

Sorry to say, but there is no chance, regardless of who's in the White House.  Ron Paul would only get blamed for it all.  I can't figure out why he'd want to be president: Either he's delusional and thinks this can all get fixed, or he's lying by saying it can.  Sorry, but those are the choices.  Same goes for all of them, by the way.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:47 | 2030966 trav7777
trav7777's picture

what, do we still have 90% of the world's largest oil reserve still unused?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:58 | 2031012 supafuckinmingster
supafuckinmingster's picture

As posted earlier, he'll be shot before the embedded establishment allows him to become Potus. 

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:53 | 2030522 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

Interesting. Wonder what happens when BOA folds and oil rises above $120? Interest rates are already essentially negative...............I hear a rumble in the distance in black clockless hours.....

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:05 | 2030575 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ 1  B of A would get bailed out.  Take that to the bank.

Oil goes to $120?  I hear the same rumbling...

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:08 | 2030590 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

The oil issue will be the problem, and as always war will be the solution.  No technology big or cheap enough to fill that void.  Perhaps it is a good time to own a bike shop.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:25 | 2030906 xela2200
xela2200's picture

Forget the bike. Many states have an overpopulation of wild horses. Wild boars too if You need cheap bacon. That's Spanish Conquistadors for You.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:10 | 2030728 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

120$ is last years 100$

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:53 | 2030526 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Most J6Ps have no clue what it means.  They are just glad they are not GDP, whoever that is.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:57 | 2030547 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

I think GDP must be a WWE wrestler.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:07 | 2030586 brew
brew's picture

i say ron paul kicks the bernanks ass in a caged death match... probably a strangle hold...


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:12 | 2030609 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Ron Paul/Chief Strongbow 2012...

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:10 | 2030594 peekcrackers
peekcrackers's picture

Most soccer moms that cheat on there hubbys think they cought GDP

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:53 | 2030527 gbresnahan
gbresnahan's picture

It's pretty hilarious how they call it "debt held by the public" - because I know for damn sure none of that debt is mine. :-)

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:54 | 2030530 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

Then you haven't been paying taxing and for that I salute you!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:26 | 2030912's picture

Taxpayers pay and would therefore be more rightly defined as creditors.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:56 | 2030542 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Gee, cant they just fix it by printing even more? I hear from 'sources' thats the plan.

Extra LULZ'y new year to all.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:06 | 2030581 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ 1 more

They will either print sooner or they will print later.  But, print they will.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:56 | 2030546 printmemoney
printmemoney's picture

Offset the 4 trillion dollar asset held by the social security fund and we are around 70%.  Not that we're any less screwed......

Maybe if 2012 was the last year we only spent 1.5 - 2.0 trillion more than we took in.  Ron Paul is the only hope.

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