US Government Debt Report: May 2012

(May 2012)   What is the US government debt limit?  $16.394 Trillion

How much does the government owe? $15.692 Trillion (current as of April 30th, 2012)

How long until the debt limit is reached? September 2012 (estimate)

There is $744 billion left till the debt limit is reached. In April, the US Government ran a budget surplus of $59 Billion.


Month Revenue ($ billions) Expenses
($ Billions)
($ Billions)
April 2012 319 260 (+) 59
March 2012 171 369 (-) 198
April  2011 290 330 (-) 40

In April, revenue was higher than March and expenses were significantly lower. Compared to previous April, revenue was moderately higher, but expenses were considerably lower.

The surplus in April ‘12 was the first recorded after a span of 42 months. However, the average deficit per month is around $137 Billion. Based on the average number, the US government will reach the debt limit in 5.4 months.

What does this mean if the government does not raise the debt limit or significantly reduce spending?

  • Possible government shut-down due to non-payment of salaries to the public-sector employees.
  • Possible delay/default in the payment of interest on government debt.
  • Possible downgrade in the US Credit ratings.

The congress will need to start addressing this issue in the summer. However, the politically charged atmosphere resulting form an upcoming election will make compromise on this issue even more difficult than the previous increase in the budget deficit.

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