What’s the real federal deficit? by Dennis Cauchon, 2006
The audited financial statement – prepared by the Treasury Department – reveals a federal government in far worse financial shape than official budget reports indicate, a USA Today analysis found. The government has run a deficit of $2.9 trillion since 1997, according to the audited number. The official deficit since then is just $729 billion.
The new Medicare prescription-drug benefit alone would have added $8 trillion to the government’s audited deficit. That’s the amount the government would need today, set aside and earning interest, to pay for the tens of trillions of dollars the benefit will cost in future years.
Standard accounting concepts say that $8 trillion should be reported as an expense. Combined with other new liabilities and operating losses, the government would have reported an $11 trillion deficit in 2004 – about the size of the nation’s entire economy.
The federal government also would have had a $12.7 trillion deficit in 2000 because that was the first year that Social Security and Medicare reported broader measures of the programs’ unfunded liabilities. That created a one-time expense.
The continued attempts by politicians to distract from the huge taxes they are voting to place on our children and grandchildren is disheartening. And the continued actions that are the equivilent of getting another credit card when they spend so much that even the “official” books that they have exceeded the allowable total federal debt that is damaging the economy. They need to learn how to live within the current taxes they collect just as people need to learn to live within their earning. Either that fails to do so mortgages their future.
Related: Politicians Again Raising Taxes On Your Children – USA Federal Debt Now $516,348 Per Household – Washington’s Funny Accounting – Lobbyists Keep Tax Off Billion Dollar Private Equities Deals and On For Our Grandchildren – Failed Leadership: Estate Tax Repeal