"WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. government's net operating deficit for fiscal 2006 was nearly twice its cash deficit when certain owed but unpaid social obligations were taken into account, the Treasury said on Friday."It's not really news that Bush's budget numbers are fake, just like nearly every other number issued by the administration, yet the press dutifully reported that this year's fake numbers are better than last year's fake numbers. However, the press uniformly missed the important number, which omission is not all that surprising I suppose.
For the next 2 years, el Presidente will be going in search of a legacy, some grand gift he can leave behind for the American people to remember him by. I suppose he hopes for a democratic Iraq, a peaceful Middle East, or some other goal that is as worthy as it is unattainable. But I suggest that this president's legacy is already written. It's on page 152, in the letter from the government's internal auditor, David Walker:
Despite improvement in both the fiscal year 2006 reported net operating cost and the cash-based budget deficit, the U.S. government’s total reported liabilities, net social insurance commitments, and other fiscal exposures continue to grow and now total approximately $50 trillion, representing approximately four times the Nation’s total output (GDP) in fiscal year 2006, up from about $20 trillion, or two times GDP in fiscal year 2000.The nation's "fiscal exposures," which is auditor-speak for the promises government has made, has increased $30 trillion dollars in Bush's 6 years. These are current-dollar figures, meaning that in order to fund the total promises outstanding, we would need $168,000 for every person in the country sitting in the bank earning interest TODAY in order to meet these promises, and 60% of that has been accrued under el Presidente's brand of Republican conservatism. That fiscal imbalance continues to grow at a rate of about $4 trillion a year, making it apparent that the dollar, and possibly the government with it, is doomed.
As this long-term fiscal imbalance continues to grow, the retirement of the “baby boom” generation is closer to becoming a reality with the first wave of boomers eligible for early retirement under Social Security in 2008. Given these and other factors, it seems clear that the nation’s current fiscal path is unsustainable and that tough choices by the President and the Congress are necessary in order to address the nation’s large and growing long-term fiscal imbalance.
In 2 weeks, the retirement of the baby boomers will begin "next year," and from there, the horror of the full import of these numbers, these unkeepable promises that most of the nation is relying on to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, will only accelerate toward "today".
Now that's what I call a legacy.