GAO: If Gov’t Were A Business, ‘Our Stock Would Be Dropping’ And We’d Need A ‘Major Shake-Up’

Yesterday, the Treasury Department released a troubling financial report that revealed the federal government’s “total liabilities and unfunded commitments for future payments” related to Social Security and Medicare are now estimated at $53 trillion, up from $20 trillion in 2000.

In a speech yesterday at the National Press Club, GAO Comptroller General David Walker said:

If the federal government was a private corporation and the same report came out this morning, our stock would be dropping and some people would be talking about whether the company’s management directors needed a major shake-up.

“The federal government’s total liabilities,” Walker explained, “translates into a de facto mortgage of about $455,000 for every American household and there’s no house to back that mortgage. In other words, our government has made a whole lot of promises that, in the long run, it cannot possibly keep without huge tax increases.”

Watch it:


In his speech, Walker said, “I have become increasingly frustrated by the widespread myopia, tunnel vision and self-centeredness in Washington DC.”


Illustrating Walker’s point, President Bush — while discussing the economy yesterday — did not reference the Treasury Department’s new report. “Rather, he touted the economic merits of tax cuts. ‘I’ll veto any tax increase,’ he said.”

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan writes, “The Cost of Bush: $32 trillion.”