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The US Government Matches Every Dollar In Tax Revenue With A Dollar In New Debt

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Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
Saturday, August 28, 2010

In our attempts to simplify the comprehension of the ongoing serfdomization of the US population, we would like to present one of the more persuasive charts which the administration would likely be loath to demonstrate. Having collated monthly data from the FMS’ Daily Treasury Statement on incremental tax revenues (individual, gross), and new debt issuance, we observe the following rather surprising pattern: since September 2008, or the month when capitalism collapsed, and the Fed, and ever other global Central Bank had to step in as a backstop of last recourse to the western way of life, the US government has undertaken the most peculiar matching program: simply said, for every dollar of individual tax revenue, the government has issued just over one dollar of incremental debt. In other words, in the past two years, tax revenues alone would have proven insufficient by over half to fill the budget gap. In yet other words, the US Treasury is now the functional equivalent of the entire US population and then some, when it comes to keeping the US economy afloat. From another perspective, with an average take down of roughly 50% of each recent auction by Indirect bidders, nearly a quarter (half of half) of US budget deficit needs is funded directly by foreigners. Should (in)formal trade wars escalate, and should the US see an embargo of foreign debt participation, then overnight a quarter of US spending will be unfundable: this includes such critical key expenditures as defense and social security spending. Also, it is important to recall, that of the $3.35 trillion in debt issued over the prior two year period, the Fed has directly (via UST purchases) and indirectly (via MBS purchases, and thus the forced rotation of MBS securities into UST securities for agency holders such as PIMCO) purchased the other half. Thus between foreigners, and the Fed, the US consumer’s traditional contribution to funding the US economy has been diluted by half. And unfortunately, as the chart below shows, absent some dramatic deux ex machina, there is no chance this trend in which US debt issuance is the functional equivalent of taxpayer contributions, will ever end.

The US Government Matches Every Dollar In Tax Revenue With A Dollar In New Debt Cumulative%20Tax%20Revenues%20And%20Debt%20Issuance 0

Another way of visualizing the incremental substitution of the US consumer with debt:

The US Government Matches Every Dollar In Tax Revenue With A Dollar In New Debt Cumulative%20Tax%20Revenues%20And%20Debt%20Issuance%202 1 0

Some technical details:

  • Total net debt issued since September 2008: $3,351 billion (from $10.025TR to $13.376TR)
  • Gross tax receipts since September 2008: $3,185 billion. Note this is not net of refunds. Should one exclude the $660 billion in refunds issued over the same period, the net contribution by taxpayers is just over $2.5 trillion, meaning that the value of each dollar of debt issued is a quarter greater than each dollar in taxpayer revenues.
  • This number would be somewhat offset by Corporate tax revenues, which over the same period amount to $440 billion gross and $230 billion net of corporate tax refunds.

In other words, with each passing day, the material contribution of the labor of Americans to their country is becoming increasingly diluted in the form of paper backed by the full faith and credit of the very country Americans live in. In this environment, it is easy to see why a chance in the tax regime, where the balance between tax revenue contributions and debt funding, is already so precarious, could have dire consequences on the American way of life. Should individual tax contributions fall off a cliff, as many contend, it means that the share of debt a portion of total US funding will have to increase from over 50% to a number materially higher, and the closer it approaches to 100%, the easier it is to make the case that the US economy is nothing but a ponzi system, in the purest definition of the word.

(this analysis completely ignores the toxic debt spiral should interest rates ever increase in the future; Zero Hedge has previously discussed the liquidity horizon to default in various scenarios should prevailing debt interest rates beging to rise. And with average outstanding debt duration slowly but surely increasing, the second the Fed loses hold of Mid and Long-Term interest rates, it is all over - in other words QE will be a necessary staple until such time as the Fed is prepared to go the repudiation/hyperinflation route).

This article was posted: Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 4:27 am





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