Watch America’s Money Evaporate

As the U.S. careens toward possible default, a TIME interactive shows its available funds nearly in real time

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Update, Oct. 16, 2013, 4:45 p.m.: As of Tuesday evening, the government had $39.0 billion in cash. The text and interactive have been updated.

The federal government tracks its finances just like everyone else: with a bank account that records its assets, expenditures and (substantial) debts.

As the U.S. careens toward defaulting on its debt payments, one can watch the nation’s available funds evaporate nearly in real time. Every weekday afternoon, the Treasury Department issues a statement on how much cash the nation had in its account at the end of the previous business day. These statements include which bills the government paid that day and how much money came in — through taxes, federal programs that generate revenue and massive amounts of new borrowing (most of which goes directly toward paying down old borrowing).

Here, that information is arranged like a generic e-banking site. Click the day to view the balance and expenditures for any day back to the beginning of 2012.

As one can see, there is only $25 million left on the federal government’s credit card before it hits its current borrowing limit of $16,699,421,000,000 — a drop in the bucket. The U.S. had $39.0 billion in its account as of Tuesday evening, up about $4 billion from the Friday before thanks to a large deposit of federal taxes.

It is difficult to say exactly when this reserve will run out since new cash flows in every day. That amount may last a few days beyond the widely cited Oct. 17 deadline for a deal to raise the borrowing limit. But it won’t last long. America’s creditors never stop knocking.

Source: Treasury data via

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