David Walker is a modern-day Paul Revere, but rather than the Red Coats, he’s warning of the red ink. The nation’s comptroller general and head of the Government Accountability Office is ringing alarm bells all over the country, trying to raise awareness of the coming fiscal crisis. He sees clearly what few of us do: mounting liabilities and debts so massive and debilitating that he equates America’s future to that of ancient Rome.
Just to put some numbers on the problem, right now each fulltime American worker carries a $375,000 burden that represents the amount owed toward future financial commitments made by the federal government. These are promises already made, primarily for Social Security and Medicare. In total, it comes to more than $46 trillion in outstanding net commitments and liabilities — the kind of number that makes one choke on one’s bran flakes.
When Walker says our fiscal policy is “unsustainable,” and “we cannot simply grow our way out of this problem, tough choices will be required,” he is speaking with the restraint of a buttoned-down accountant. What he really means is, this nation is in-thetoilet doomed if we don’t start electing grown-up leaders who are not afraid of the word taxes and the notion of cutting spending and entitlements.
But our current president, whose life has been one big free lunch, has little stomach for demanding sacrifice. His war in Iraq is now costing $8 billion per month — all of it essentially borrowed — and he’s still pushing for more tax cuts for America’s rich. When we were attacked by a group of Islamic terrorists, Bush suggested we all go shopping, an injunction made even as our national savings rate was plunging to less than zero. Party on.
Full article here.