Monday, November 21, 2005

Going to Hell (In a Handbasket)

A 'fiscal hurricane' on the horizon

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
Tue Nov 15, 7:05 AM ET

The comptroller general of the United States is explaining over eggs how the nation's finances are going to hell.

"We face a demographic tsunami" that "will never recede," David Walker tells a group of reporters. He runs through a long list of fiscal challenges, led by the imminent retirement of the baby boomers, whose promised Medicare and Social Security benefits will swamp the federal budget in coming decades.

The breakfast conversation remains somber for most of an hour. Then one reporter smiles and asks, "Aren't you depressed in the morning?"

Sadly, it's no laughing matter. To hear Walker, the nation's top auditor, tell it, the United States can be likened to Rome before the fall of the empire. Its financial condition is "worse than advertised," he says. It has a "broken business model." It faces deficits in its budget, its balance of payments, its savings - and its leadership.

Walker's not the only one saying it. As Congress and the White House struggle to trim up to $50 billion from the federal budget over five years - just 3% of the $1.6 trillion in deficits projected for that period - budget experts say the nation soon could face its worst fiscal crisis since at least 1983, when Social Security bordered on bankruptcy.

Without major spending cuts, tax increases or both, the national debt will grow more than $3 trillion through 2010, to $11.2 trillion - nearly $38,000 for every man, woman and child. The interest alone would cost $561 billion in 2010, the same as the Pentagon.
Gee, US Today finally woke up and smelled the sour coffee these assholes have been peddling for five years?

I've posted my admiration for Walker several times on this blog. As a Clinton appointee, he's the only sitting administration official with the nerve (and the insulation) to tell the truth about the fiscal policy of these economic rapists. This article ought to be required reading for any Regressive Bushinista.

Hat tip to my able assistant, Katrina.