20121130

The Real Federal Deficit Dwarfs the Official Numbers

Here's a quick lesson on the federal deficit for the "tax the rich crowd." According to USATODAY, the real federal deficit dwarfs the official tally.  The government reported a 2011 deficit of $1.3 trillion, but the real number is actually $5 trillion. How is that?

As usual, our federal overlords play by different rules. While private companies, state and local governments and all other entities are required to include promised retirement benefits in their debt reporting, Congress exempts itself from doing so. Shocking, I know.

What did they leave out? "Liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs rose by $3.7 trillion in 2011."

So, this is why some of us rail against the expansion of federal programs. The federal government has already made promises that it cannot afford to keep. Programs started back in the early 20th century and bankrupting the nation today. Congress and Congress and president after president have used supposed retirement "insurance payments" to pay for a never-ending list of other programs.

When anyone suggests transferring responsibility and money back to the individual, Democrats go into convulsions shouting: "They want to privatize!" "Vouchers are evil." Those who want fiscal responsibility are shouted down. The masses are mollified. The madness continues.

The answer is to find leaders, from every political persuasion, who will be honest with the electorate.  I'm not hopeful. The people who started the mess are long gone and most of the today's citizens are blissfully ignorant. Today's politicians know they won't be held accountable when the bomb blows up on future generations.

Where do you stand?