Sunday, July 27, 2008

The National Debt, Deficit, and Liabilities

This year's deficit is about $162 million, that's small change compared to the total liability. From USA Today:

Taxpayers' bill leaps by trillions
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

The federal government's long-term financial obligations grew by $2.5 trillion last year, a reflection of the mushrooming cost of Medicare and Social Security benefits as more baby boomers reach retirement.

That's double the red ink of a year earlier.

Taxpayers are on the hook for a record $57.3 trillion in federal liabilities to cover the lifetime benefits of everyone eligible for Medicare, Social Security and other government programs, a USA TODAY analysis found. That's nearly $500,000 per household.

When obligations of state and local governments are added, the total rises to $61.7 trillion, or $531,472 per household. That is more than four times what Americans owe in personal debt such as mortgages. .......

......Big new liabilities taken on in 2007:

• Medicare: $1.2 trillion.
• Social Security: $900 billion.
• Civil servant retirement: $106 billion.
• Veteran benefits: $34 billion.

The multitrillion-dollar loss is a more meaningful financial number than the official deficit, says Tom Allen, chairman of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, which helps set federal accounting rules.
Medicare has an unfunded liability of $30.4 trillion.................

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