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Field Trip to the Government Accountability Office

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Somehow, I ended up at the website for the Government Accountability Office. I don't even remember how I found my way there, but decided to look around. Over on the right-hand side of the page was a link, From the Comptroller General. If you follow this link, it opens to a page that has copies of speeches made by the Comptroller General, David Walker. I read a couple of these and thought I would highlight a quote from one. The quote was found in the speech titled 'Transforming Government To Thrive, Not Just Survive, in Changing Times' given at the Diamond Cluster Exchange at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, on September 19, 2005.

Our federal deficit numbers are big and bad, but it’s the government’s long-term liabilities and unfunded commitments that are the real threat. I’m talking about things like unfunded promises for Social Security and Medicare, military and civilian retirement benefits, costly environmental cleanups, and potential bailouts of government-sponsored enterprises like the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Together, these items now total over $46 trillion, up from about $20 trillion in 2000. In fiscal year 2004 alone, the government’s liabilities and unfunded commitments rose by $13 trillion, largely because of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. And these numbers don’t even take into account the massive relief and reconstruction costs from Hurricane Katrina, currently $60 billion-plus in supplemental appropriations, with more to come.

To help put this number into perspective, $46 trillion translates into more than $150,000 per American and about $350,000 per part-time worker. Even with the recent run-up in housing prices, the combined net worth of every American, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and other billionaires, is only about $48 trillion. That means everyone in this room would have to give up over 95 percent of his or her net worth just to cover the government’s current promises for future spending.

Sobering, Yes? Especially when you consider that those words were spoken by the Comptroller General. Frankly, we, as a country, are financially screwed! I wonder if this is why the Founding Fathers were against a central/national bank. Its as if they knew there would be no way to hold back the government from spending itself into oblivion once it got hold of the printing press. And now where do we find ourselves?

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
~George Santayana

1 Comments:

Anonymous Mark said...

Gee, you get up early. :)

46 trillion dollars. Hmm. I used to think that a billion dollars was a big amount.

The government's solution will be to print more money and devalue the dollar. Let the presses roll!

9:52 AM  

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