In normal times, the Federal Government has a revenue windfall in April, and runs a large surplus for the month. Revenues are typically at least 140% of outlays. Even more in good years.
Revenues covered just 24% of outlays in April. We borrowed 76 cents of every dollar the Federal Government spent last month.
We knew this was coming. The questions now are how long it can last, when it will start to recover, and whether it might get worse.
The monthly Treasury Statement data illustrates the depth of the budgetary crisis that have engulfed the financial markets. It showed that the Federal Government had to finance a deficit of $742 billion for the month. But that apparently doesn’t include a little cash flow matter of $230 billion the government paid out in tax refunds in April. That’s a gargantuan number that we saw in the Daily Treasury Statement data that I reported last week. Therefore on a cash basis, the deficit was more than a trillion. That had to be financed through debt offerings.
The Daily Treasury Statement data through May 12 shows that the situation is not only not getting better. It hasn’t stopped getting worse. The worst readings on withholding tax collections just happened Friday and Monday. Here’s how it looks now, and guidance on how we’ll know when it’s beginning to recover.
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