Oh, yeah . . . we have a budget catastrophe too . . .

October 9, 2006 | By | Reply More

According to this article by McClatchy, U.S. federal spending “increased by 9 percent in fiscal 2006, the biggest jump since 1990. It’s risen sharply for education, agriculture and several non-defense programs as well as for the war on terrorism and homeland security.” 

Surprising to me, defense and homeland security account for less than one-third of the spending increases since 2001.  Excluding defense and homeland security, the 7% annual increase under Bush far exceeds the 4.2% increases under Clinton.

Using numbers from the White House Office of Management and Budget , the conservative Heritage Foundation, a conservative research center, indicates that the Bush administration and its Republican-led Congress “have increased government spending by 45 percent since 2001.”

The article quotes Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition: “The real issue we need to start paying more attention to is what sort of enormous balloon payment are we setting ourselves up for in the future.”  This is especially true in light of the huge strain shifting demographics are starting to put on the Social Security, health care and retirement systems.

The article explains that responsible businesses use accrual-based accounting, in which liabilities, or commitments, are factored in.  Here’s how the U.S. finances look under such an accrual-basis deficit calculation:

For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2005, that deficit totaled $760 billion. It has grown every year of the Bush presidency. It will grow in the 2006 fiscal year too, approaching $800 billion or more.

Comptroller General David Walker, the nation’s chief accounting auditor, has added up all the federal government’s unfunded liabilities, or promises, and offers a present-day figure of $46 trillion. Think of that as promises to the tune of $155,932.18 for each of the 295 million Americans.

Therefore, start saving your pennies.  You’re going to need them. 

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Category: Economy, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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