Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

mhkeller edited this page Jan 7, 2014 · 9 revisions

Is this website affiliated with the U.S. Treasury?

No. Treasury.io is a site created by members of csv soundsystem, a New York City-based journalist-hacker collective. We received support from Knight-Mozilla OpenNews to turn machine-illegible daily treasury statements from the U.S. Treasury into the query-able database and resource center at Treasury.io. Where we've had questions about the data, we've consulted with the Treasury department to make sure everything is accurate.

What is the source of the data?

The data come from the Daily Treasury Statement, which details the cash operations of the U.S. Treasury: spending, borrowing, taxation and related account balances. Past issues of the Daily Treasury Statement are available here.

How often is this data updated?

Every day at 4:00 pm East Coast time the U.S. Treasury releases new data. The parser runs at 4:30 pm and everything should be uploaded into the database by 5:00 pm. You can follow our Twitter bot, @TreasuryIO to be notified when new data is added every day.

Why do the numbers seem way too low?

The Treasury publishes its data values in millions. So if a program's daily expense reads 20, that equals $20 million. If a value reads 1000, that equals $1 billion.

What is the difference between the Daily Treasury Statement and the Monthly Treasury Statement?

The Treasury also releases a Monthly Treasury Statement, available here, which summarizes the government's spending, taxation and borrowing by month. The main difference is that the monthly statements group all the spending by program and agency together, and same for receipts. The daily statements provide a more granular daily view of programs and agencies' cash spending and receipts, but those may not include monthly adjustments that impact the overall totals. As a result, the daily data may not reconcile exactly with agency totals for spending or receipts in the monthly statements.

Did you change anything in the data?

Some of the program names have been standardized. For instance, in Table 2, Deposits & Withdrawals, program names GSA, GSA programs and GSA Programs were standardized into GSA Programs with a capital-P. We have only done this type of standardization after consulting with the Treasury to make sure these are not separate line items. In all cases they are the same program, just under a slightly different name. The file the parser uses to standardize names is normalize_field_table.json. The first value is the existing name and the value after the : is what we have changed it to.

Importantly, we don't delete this information. The original name is kept in a column suffixed with _raw. In the GSA example, that item would appear with GSA Programs under the item column and GSA under the item_raw column. Here is the query that will show you those rows: SELECT * FROM "t2" WHERE item_raw = 'GSA'

How should I cite this data?

You can cite it with the following:

<a href="http://www.fms.treas.gov/index.html" target="_blank">U.S. Treasury data</a> via <a href="http://treasury.io/" target="_blank">Treasury.io</a>.

If you prefer sans-links:

U.S. Treasury data via Treasury.io.

What are some additional sources you'd recommend for understanding the data?

The U.S. Treasury also publishes a Monthly Treasury Statement, which contains more information about the cash operations of the Treasury. The Monthly Treasury Statement is published at 2pm on the 8th business day of each month and can be accessed here:

http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/index.html

Where can I get a more granular break-down of the debt issued by the U.S. Government?

The U.S. Treasury publishes a report once-a-month called the "Monthly Statement of the Public Debt," available via the Treasury Direct website. This statement lists the individual CUSIPs of the Treasury's outstanding debts, amounts and intra-governmental IOUs, like the German Democratic Republic Settlement Fund. You can find these monthly statements here, in Excel and PDF format:

http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/mspd/mspd.htm