So many nuggets in this story.
The federal budget deficit would have been 69 percent higher than the $162.8 billion reported two months ago if the government had used the same accounting methods as private companies, the Bush administration reported Monday.
The report was released by the Treasury Department and the president’s Office of Management and Budget. Under the accrual method of accounting, expenses are recorded when they are incurred rather than when they are paid. That raises the costs for liabilities such as pensions and health insurance.
Imagine that. Look at the picture as a whole and it looks worse. Now, why would Congress reject such accuracy?
The new report indicates that funding for Social Security and Medicare will come up $45 trillion short in the next 75 years in paying for projected benefits over that time frame.
Oh, right. But what’s a mere $45,000,000,000,000 in the grand scope of caring about people through government?
As it has for every report, the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, said it could not sign off on the books because of problems at various agencies, most notably the Defense Department.
In a letter, GAO Comptroller General David M. Walker did note that his agency was able to sign off on the financial statement for the Social Security and Medicare programs.
“The federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, including safeguarding assets, and compliance with significant laws and regulations,” Walker said in his letter.
If you or I did that in our record-keeping, the government would assume our guilt, take everything we own and throw us in jail.
“The 2.6 trillion in record-breaking revenues that flowed into the Treasury this year reflect a healthy economy,” Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in a statement accompanying the new report.
It could just as easily reflect that Congress is taxing the American people heavily. Granted, I’d go along the lines of arguing that the $275,500,000,000 deficit reflects that the Congress and President are willing to spend beyond all rational bounds of fiscal responsibility. But that wouldn’t make anyone look favorable, so it must not be true. Right?