U.S. Must Borrow Another $5,240 Per Household Just to Fund Gov't at Current Level Through Sept. 30

By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 10, 2011 | 12:48 PM EDT

House Speaker John Boehner, President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid discussing debt-limit legislation at the White House on July 7, 2011. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama and congressional leaders seeking to negotiate a deal to increase the legal limit on the federal government’s debt, would need to agree to increase that debt by $615.865 billion between now and Sept. 30, just to keep the government going at current spending levels, according to the CBO’s latest estimate of the fiscal 2011 deficit and the Treasury Department’s latest accounting of the federal debt.

Given that the Census Bureau estimates there are now 117,538,000 households in the United States that means the federal government must borrow an additional $5,239.71 per American household just to maintain the current federal spending level through Sept. 30.

The $615.865 billion in new debt needed between now and Sept. 30 (the last day of fiscal 2011) will decrease only to the degree that Obama and Boehner and the other congressional leaders agree to cut near-term federal spending that is scheduled to take place between now and Sept. 30.

Whatever cuts the president and congressional leaders agree to make two or three years from now—when many of them may no longer be in elective office—will have no impact on the amount of money the Treasury will be forced to borrow in the remaining 82 days of this fiscal year.

Were President Obama and congressional leaders to agree to cut a half a trillion dollars ($500 billion) from the federal spending already scheduled to take place between now and Sept. 30, the federal government would still need to increase the debt another $115.865 billion during those 82 days.

According to the latest estimate of the Congressional Budget Office, which was published on April 15, the federal deficit will reach $1.399 trillion this year under current spending and taxing levels. 

“CBO’s baseline projections largely reflect the assumption that current tax and spending laws will remain unchanged,” CBO said in its April report. “Under that assumption, CBO estimates that the deficit will total $1.40 trillion in 2011—$81 billion less than the agency estimated in January.”

Table 1-1 of the CBO report pegs the estimated fiscal 2011 deficit more precisely at $1.399 trillion.

The Treasury Department, meanwhile, reported in its latest daily statement, which accounts for government revenues and spending through the close of business on July 7, that the federal debt has increased by $783.135 billion so far this fiscal year (with the debt subject to the legal limit climbing from $13.510840 trillion at the close of business on Sept. 30, 2010 to $14.293975 trillion at the close of business on July 7, 2011.

The difference between the $783.135 billion in deficit spending the Treasury says the government has done already in fiscal 2011 and the $1.399 trillion in total deficit spending the CBO says the government will need to do by Sept. 30, equals $615.865—the amount the government will need to borrow over the next 82 days to sustain the spending planned for this year under current law.