Feds have put you $516,348 in debt & you don’t even know it

By Dan Juneau

June 06, 2007 at 3:06 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Our state Legislature seems determined at this point to bring fiscal irresponsibility to new heights as it fashions the state budget for next year.

But, as crazy and dangerous as their fiscal actions might be, they are nothing compared to the fiscal disaster our federal government keeps fomenting.

A recent USA Today budget analysis contains some very sobering information about the dire consequences of runaway federal spending and the accounting gimmicks Congress and the executive branch use to mask the fiscal madness they are perpetrating.

As the USA Today article points out, the $248 billion budget deficit run up by the feds last year isn't a true reflection of how much our national government really drowned in red ink.

If Congress had to employ the same accounting standards that corporations and state and local governments are mandated to use, the true net loss for governmental operations last year would have actually been $1.3 trillion.

Those entities, unlike the federal government, are mandated to list expenses as liabilities on their balance sheets immediately when transactions occur, not at the point that payment is made later.

Requiring such accounting practices gives corporate stockholders and state and local taxpayers a better understanding of the fiscal condition of businesses and government entities.

Unfortunately, the last thing the feds want taxpayers to understand is the depth of the fiscal hole they have been digging over the years, and the price that future generations must pay in order to fix it.

The USA Today article puts the situation in clear perspective: "Bottom line: (federal) 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."

The generous, underfunded benefits the federal government has enacted in such programs as Medicare, Medicaid, and federal retirement programs alone account for 85 percent of the $516,348 in debt each household has been stuck with, thanks to our irresponsible federal officials.

Of course, all of this money will come due at some point.




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