On Wednesday, the Treasury Department released its Monthly Treasury Statement for September and the fiscal year 2014. It’s the official account of how the US government arrives at its infamous deficit. And it was a doozie.
Without giving it a second thought, the media gushed about the headline number, how good it looked, how the US government was getting its fiscal mess in order.
Receipts rose $247 billion to $3,021 billion, outlays rose $50 billion to $3,504 billion (including “on-budget” and “off-budget” items) for a deficit of $483 billion. At 2.8% of GDP, as the media gleefully pointed out, it was proportionately the smallest since 2007. The deficit monster has been tamed. And unthinkable as that seemed a couple of years ago, it has disappeared as a political issue, even before the election!
There is just one teeny-weeny problem:
To fill that $483 billion hole, the US government borrowed $1.086 trillion.
Turns out, the US gross national debt, as I’d reported in early October, ended fiscal 2014 at 17.824 trillion, up $1.086 trillion from fiscal 2013. This is the real increase in real Treasury debt that real taxpayers will have to deal with in the future.
The chart of the gross national debt below is a mesmerizing picture of America’s fiscal condition as it developed over the years, with some peculiarities …
Of course by any morally-defensible definition of debt this is all smoke and mirrors from fraud street, which taxpayers continue to subsidize as they continue to loot main street.