September 14, 2012

AP Report on Record August Deficit Fails to Report Record August Deficit

Yesterday, Uncle Sam’s Monthly Treasury Statement for August officially confirmed the Congressional Budget Office’s Monday estimate of how horrid it would be. The August deficit, driven by $369.393 billion in spending, the highest such single-month total in U.S. history, was $190.533 billion, the largest August deficit ever reported.

Naturally, Daniel Wagner at the Associated Press failed to report either record. Additionally, as seen here (saved at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), the wire service’s news prioritizers had already removed Wagner’s report from its top ten business stories by 5:05 p.m., only 2-1/2 hours after its 2:32 p.m. time stamp (apparently more important: Microsoft’s malware problem in China and a second story on the new iPhone 5). Excerpts follow the jump.

Naturally, Wagner tried to sugarcoat the news of a fourth consecutive year of trillion-dollar deficits as an “improvement,” and framed those deficits around Dear Leader’s reelection campaign (bolds are mine throughout this post):


The U.S. federal budget deficit increased by $191 billion in August and has topped $1 trillion for the fourth straight year.

The deficit for the first 11 months of the 2012 budget year totaled $1.16 trillion, the Treasury Department said Thursday. That’s 6 percent less than the $1.23 trillion in the same period last year. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

One reason for the improvement: Income tax receipts are up as the economy improves slowly.

Still, the report highlights a political vulnerability for President Barack Obama: He will seek reelection after running trillion-dollar deficits each year in office. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as Obama pledged to do in early 2009.

Memo to Wagner: The increase in tax collections in general is the only reason for the “improvement,” such as it is, because year-to-date spending is greater than last year. As the CBO noted on Monday: “Outlays through August totaled $3.4 trillion, $57 billion (or 2 percent) more than spending in the same period last year. As adjusted for shifts in the timing of payments, outlays were 1 percent higher.” Total year-to-date spending of $3.351 trillion is the highest total for the first eleven months of a fiscal year — yet another record Wagner failed to report.

No AP writeup on the government’s fiscal situation would be complete without bogus references to “tax cuts” and “deeper cuts” in spending:

Obama is pushing to let tax cuts approved in 2001 and 2003 expire for couples making more than $250,000. That would generate more than $700 billion over 10 years. He also wants to set a 30 percent tax rate on taxpayers making more than $1 million. That would add $47 billion to government revenue over 10 years.

Republicans say the tax increases would stifle the economic recovery by leaving businesses with less money for hiring and investing. They want deeper cuts in government programs. A budget approved by the GOP-controlled House, for example, includes sharp reductions for Medicare and additional tax cuts.

Different month, mostly the same tune. At least Wagner acknowledged that ending the 2001 and 2003 “tax cuts” would be a tax increase. But his reference to “deeper cuts” in spending is a joke. To have “deeper cuts,” you first have to have previous cuts. This year’s overall increase in spending shows that there haven’t been any cuts yet.

Far more important at AP: Praising Ben Bernanke’s “BOLD, OPEN-ENDED STEPS TO AID ECONOMY,” otherwise known as “hitting ‘Okay’ at the ‘Print More Money Out of Thin Air’ dialog box on his computer screen.” Don’t get me started.

Cross-posted at


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