The catch? I was still paying off Christmas and the various other debts I had run up over the last year or so. I just sent that bonus money straight off to Mr. Credit Card, and called it even. The Federal Government may have had a surplus in December, but they (like me) had already spent the money.
What scares me is that the $114 billion added to the "on the record" federal debt is really the tip of the debt problem in the US. There's billions of new debt in pseudo-governmental agencies (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.) and in the state and local governments. The trade deficit topped $600 billion last year, and that has to come back to our nation one way or the other. And let's not even go into consumer debt.
I can't dwell on this much, or I get to sounding too negative, and then my wife starts accusing me of being a right-wing nut job.
"Paving with dollars"- I used to wonder if the Federal Reserve was dedicated in printing enough new US Dollars to allow people to pave their driveways with them. Now, I'm much less negative, I simply know they are. :)