Monday, May 08, 2006

Feds Restate Financials, Film At 11

Even the Federal government is not immune from having to restate its financials from time to time.

Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce) announced that:
The estimates of personal income for March and for the first quarter of 2006, which were released on May 1, were overstated.
According to BEA's errata, available here:
Personal income for March was overstated by $38.9 billion (annual rate), and its growth was overstated by 0.3 percentage point (not annualized); first-quarter personal income was overstated by $12.9 billion, and its growth was overstated by 0.5 percentage point (annual rate).
Don't worry - the income is real, the government just recognized it prematurely:
This overstatement of income resulted from including in the March estimate of Government social benefits to persons a prepayment for April for Medicare Part D benefits - the new prescription drug plan that began on January 1.

* * *

In the Monthly Treasury Statement - BEA's data source for payments for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan - the payment for the month of April, which would normally be made on the first day of the month, was made on March 31 because April 1 fell on a Saturday. According to BEA's standard practice for recording government transactions, this prepayment should have been recorded in April.
The original release with the incorrect data is available here.

Any purchasers of treasury note or bonds out there that feel they paid inflated prices for their government securities as a result of this material misstatement or omission are likely out of luck.

As any law student learns in Constitutional Law, the United States is immune from suit unless it waives its sovereign immunity and consents to be sued. See United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983). The sovereign immunity of the United States also extends to its agencies. Gilbert v. DaGrossa, 756 F.2d 1455, 1460 n. 6 (9th Cir.1985). Suffice to say - the feds have not in recent memory chosen to waive sovereign immunity for violations of the federal securities laws.

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