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 - 18:29 | 2030645 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Actually the SS trust fund is dumping more treasuries to make up its cash shortfall than most nations- so offsetting them would be an accounting gimmick.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 17:58 | 2030552 chump666
chump666's picture

Obama is insane

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:31 | 2030928's picture

No. He simply has a different agenda from the one which he publicly advocates. Every action which Obama has taken or that Bush took before him were coldly calculated in order to achieve our present state.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:43 | 2030560 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

rhetorically, how prominent of a talking point this will be...




Correction, they mentioned it (debates?) briefly (as if from 40,000 ft.) in the newz...

...that along with a flurry of campaign rhetoric peppered (riddled?) with BS.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:04 | 2030571 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

This will only cost you your retirement account, SS, Medicare, paved roads, and your freedom.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:14 | 2030612 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

I disagree.  If there are no paved roads to my people or my property, I would argue that we would have more freedom from the central planning financial fucknuts - bring it!  Nature and the laws of physics make no promises regarding anyone's survival anyway.  If we have the freedom to live and die by our own means, we have already won,  fucking bring it.

The only thing that paper-pushers (who create nothing of real value) fear is a loss of FAITH and confidence in paper.  Paper is how these idiots currently get people to do their bidding.  History shows us over and over just how this turns out, hedge accordingly.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:26 | 2030640 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

No more paved roads would be PERFECT...

See then, Krugman's logic on GDP being bolstered by an alien invasion would finally prove correct... (Only NOT in the way he envisioned it)...

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:04 | 2030573 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

It's only debt.  Look deep into the eyes of our children and just tell it like it is...

If you want a future you want Ron Paul.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:06 | 2030580 fast mover
fast mover's picture


I've got the $1.09 covered, so it's not as bad as you would think.  I'd better pay it soon or it will be $1M.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:08 | 2030593 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

That $15 tn debt works out to some $124,000 per TAXPAYER.  Have $124,000 to pay your share?  Me either.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:16 | 2030750 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

And its only going to get far larger.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:17 | 2030752 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

It isn't about money it's about the consolidation of power using money as control and something to blame it on (the system).

Globalization is fraud-paradise, fiat it's beverage of leverage.

Money is dying.   Does nature really need it?  Nope, only the weakest among us cherish such incorporated fraud-bullshit.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:09 | 2030600 dereks1
dereks1's picture

I say double-the-fuck down!

Wed, 01/04/2012 - 06:56 | 2032204 IrritableBowels
IrritableBowels's picture

Derivatives, anyone?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:10 | 2030605 ricecake
ricecake's picture


Worry too much about nothing. They can print and pay the creditors. 



As long as they can exchange the IOU with chicken, pork, Boeing, WMDs, coal, Apples, everyone's happy. 





Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:17 | 2030618 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

And when "they" can't exchange the IOU, or it requires too many, you better kill "them" before they kill you, because despite what all the eCONomists say they will still need the real asset to survive.  History keeps rythming like that.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:29 | 2030646 youngman
youngman's picture

Should be the headline on the Chris Mathews show right...

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:30 | 2030647 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

Pretty sure yanks can hit my target (perhaps with an upside surprise) of 160% by the end of Obama's 2nd term. 

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:51 | 2030691 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

You can bet we'll give it the old college try.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:57 | 2030852 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

So you're saying tuition is going up? LOL

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:33 | 2030651 Jlmadyson
Jlmadyson's picture

14 Billion they could cash that out tonight. Another debt ceiling debacle so early in the year? Didn't Obama delay the request for more funds? When is Congress back in full session?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:40 | 2030666 BlackholeDivestment
BlackholeDivestment's picture

...sounds like

...mark of The Beast sure turned out to be global ...and ugly.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:42 | 2030669 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Can't we just borrow money from China to pay off the debt? This brings us to prosperity right?


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:43 | 2030671 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

What proportion of US National Debt is held domestically ?  What proportion is held by nations running a trade surpluis with the US ?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:03 | 2030718 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

The only question is what portion of the US National Debt is held by the Fed.  You know, that private banking cartel that charges YOU interest to print your (really their) money. Stupid is as stupid does I guess.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:44 | 2030673 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:44 | 2030674 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

I'll gladly pay you Thursday for a Hamburger today.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:12 | 2030736 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I'll just keep in safe storage in my mouth. You bring the money tomorrow and then you'll get whatever comes out of my ass of whats left of that burger. Deal?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:45 | 2030675 Scalaris
Scalaris's picture



Nobody Understands Debt* 


"And that’s why nations with stable, responsible governments — that is, governments that are willing to impose modestly higher taxes when the situation warrants it — have historically been able to live with much higher levels of debt than today’s conventional wisdom would lead you to believe. Britain, in particular, has had debt exceeding 100 percent of G.D.P. for 81 of the last 170 years. When Keynes was writing about the need to spend your way out of a depression, Britain was deeper in debt than any advanced nation today, with the exception of Japan."


- Paul "Alien Whisperer" Krugman


*oh snap


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:50 | 2030685 Jlmadyson
Jlmadyson's picture

Oh man cannot get enough of this guy.

Can I have another Krugman?

Yes sir, fill er up to the brim.

I wonder if I should even expect my tax refund come Feb haha.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:05 | 2030720 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

And now the WORLD is Japan.  Stupid is as stupid does and infinite growth with finite resources is impossible.  I wonder if Krugman tastes like chicken?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:06 | 2030875 Spacemoose
Spacemoose's picture

i'm curious, how did that work out for britain?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 20:38 | 2030937's picture

"It's the Brain Drain. His brain is draining." -- Victor Spinetti in Help!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:47 | 2030680 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

...not to worry! "The Tough" will go shopping till their droopy drawers are dropping 

And everything will be allright again. 

Because we know who we are: United Uppies of Merika! And nobody can reach for their plastic as fast as we can. Sing it loud, sing it proud!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:52 | 2030693 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I have a question for the gold experts. What happens if the Feds revalue their gold and declare that they are a buyer and a seller at $2,200? Does that put a cap on gold? Does that help them to pull in more gold ? What happens to fiat if they do that?

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:07 | 2030725 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Hold on, its coming.  Any sudden gold revaluation will be the greatest theft of all.  History shows that revaluations occur only after confiscation.  After all, only the "right" people can hold wealth.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:11 | 2030734 Big Ben
Big Ben's picture

I'm not a gold expert, but I'll venture a prediction since I don't think this will happen and so I am unlikely to be proved wrong.

In the short run, everyone who thinks gold is worth less than $2200 sells their gold to the government, so the government pulls in a substantial amount of gold. Then the price of gold remains stable at $2200 for a while.

In the long run, inflation eats away at the purchasing power of the dollar and that $2200 becomes worth less and less in real terms, while an ounce of gold remains an ounce of gold. So at some point, people begin to purchase gold from the government and eventually US government gold reserves are depleted. The price of gold then rises above $2200 and the US government cancels its offer.

It is similar to what happened to silver in the 1960's, which resulted in US silver reserves being depleted.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:15 | 2030749 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Thanks for your response. That's kind of what I thought too, but I have seen it suggested that the Feds should follow that path to 1) put a ceiling on gold then 2) take in more gold and use it later to pay down the debt.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:35 | 2030801 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Here's another question:

If RP audits the US gold stock and actually finds anything near what's on the books, would he sell it to pay down the debt or would he just tell debt holders to eat it? Which choice would be more appealing to a Libertarian that is "long" gold miners?





Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:49 | 2030812 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Tell em to eat it and like it.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:57 | 2030704 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

Bullish...another market rally. I've got this figured out now...the bigger the debt and the deeper one goes, the more the markets like it. Doesn't make sense...but it is what it is.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:58 | 2030707 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

If everyone is responsible then no one is responsible --least of all me.

See you at the jubilee party.

-Ron Paul

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:25 | 2030773 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

It's the indians fault!
Let's go kill their buffalo's in retalliation!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 18:59 | 2030708 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Mission accomplished, now who's got my bonus?


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:01 | 2030713 Shadowsil
Shadowsil's picture

OT RP poll on MSN< mitts in the lead atm.. ermm ya right. Go vote. Bottom right hand side...

Go paul go!

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:07 | 2030723 TheSilverJournal
TheSilverJournal's picture

The General Accounting Office decided to release its 2011 Fiscal Report of the United States on the Friday before Christmas, likely so the press would be screaming about how broke the US is when the report came out. It's not like the white house is even trying to hide it..the very first sentence of the report is Geithner stating, "this report provides another sobering picture of our long term fiscal challenges."

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:14 | 2030745 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture



The real debt is closer to $30 trillion and the real GDP is closer to $10 trillion, meaning real debt-to-GDP is around 300%.

Accounting gimmicks are going to fail against a tide of national leaders waking up and seeing what's really happening to America.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:32 | 2030791 TheSilverJournal
TheSilverJournal's picture

Yes, GDP deflator is routinely understated as well as well as what the government borrows and spends is counted in GDP which is a joke.

Also, all of the off balance sheet debt like what the government is backing from Fannie / Freddie / FHA / student loans that will not be paid back is not counted in debt, which should be. Not to mention the over $100T in unfunded liabilities.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:24 | 2030767 MrSteve
MrSteve's picture

The_Year_of_the_Dragon IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!

We can just go for it, knowing the Golden Dragon will protect us.

A US $20 gold piece brings about $1600 FRN cabbage leaves per coin, so if you can learn from a small cloud of golden coins, you'll be able to laugh at the Debt Dustdevil whenever it kicks up.

A US silver quarter is worth $5 now, so anyone can put away real money. Buying one ounce of gold a month in 2012 will make you very merry in 2013. Dragons love gold because it is a durable constant in a world of lies, smoke and mirrors. Human nature and gold are the two constants in society.

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 19:26 | 2030774 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

There are 110,000,000 households in the U.S.  If you add up all the income it comes to about $6 trillion.  That's all that matters to Americans.  Subtract taxes and you get ~$3 trillion in real income.  Now the $15 trillion debt has real meaning.


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