If the federal government followed the same accounting rules that corporations, states, and local governments use the truly astounding extent of our national debt would enrage the public.

Modern accounting requires that corporations, state governments and local governments count expenses immediately when a transaction occurs, even if the payment will be made later.

The federal government does not follow the rule, so promises for Social Security and Medicare don't show up when the government reports its financial condition.

Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

Unfunded promises made for Medicare, Social Security and federal retirement programs account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities. State and local government retirement plans account for much of the rest.

These numbers are obviously unsustainable and demonstrate why social security is doomed and young workers would be foolish to expect anything from it for their retirement. It is disgraceful for our government to hoodwink us like this, and I hope that the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Board will follow through with its proposal and force the feds to accurately count the costs of our "entitlements".

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