Monday, June 13, 2011

US Debt now is $61.6 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities to seniors, veterans and retirees That is over $500 thousand per household. [Obviously, that can never be repaid except by making dollars worth pennies through inflation.]

The federal government's financial
condition deteriorated rapidly last year, far
beyond the $1.5 trillion in new debt taken
on to finance the budget deficit

The government added $5.3 trillion in new
financial obligations in 2010, largely for
retirement programs such as Medicare and

Social Security
. That brings to a record
$61.6 trillion the total of financial promises
amounts to $527,000 per household. That's
more than five times what Americans have
borrowed for everything else — mortgages,
car loans and other debt. It reflects the
challenge as the number of retirees soars
over the next 20 years and seniors try to
collect on those spending promises.

"The (federal) debt only tells us what the
government owes to the public. It doesn't
take into account what's owed to seniors,
veterans and retired employees," says
accountant Sheila Weinberg, founder of the
Institute for Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-
based group that advocates better financial
reporting. "Without accurate accounting, we
can't make good decisions."

Michael Lind, policy director at the liberal
New America Foundation
's economic growth
program, says there is no near-term crisis
for federal retirement programs and that
economic growth will make these programs
more affordable.

"The false claim that Social Security and
Medicare are about to bankrupt the
has been repeated for decades by
conservatives and libertarians who pretend
that their ideological opposition to these
successful and cost-effective programs is
based on worries about the deficit," he says.

USA TODAY has calculated federal finances
based on standard accounting rules since
2004 using data from the Medicare and
Social Security annual reports and the little-
known audited financial report of the federal

The government has promised pension and
health benefits worth more than $700,000
per retired civil servant. The pension fund's
key asset: federal IOUs.

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