Washington’s Fiscal Mess Is Irresponsible, Unethical, Immoral: Former US Comptroller General

Authored by Andrew Moran via The Epoch Times,

In 2007, the U.S. national debt was below $10 trillion, and the budget deficit was about $160 billion. Federal spending was about $3 trillion, and interest payments were approximately $400 billion.

Then the numbers spiraled out of control.

Washington’s fiscal situation has drastically changed since then; total debt has surpassed $34 trillion, the annual budget shortfall exceeds $1 trillion, and interest costs have topped $1 trillion.

David Walker, the former comptroller general of the United States and a Main Street Economics advisory board member, is unsurprised.

Seventeen years ago, Mr. Walker rang fiscal alarm bells. Like Ross Perot before him, he took his case to the American people and delivered the cold, hard truth: The government’s books are unsustainable, and interest charges on the mounting debt will swallow a significant portion of federal revenues.

During this time, the former head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) appeared on a widely viewed episode of “60 Minutes,” toured the country to spotlight worrisome trends in the U.S. government’s budget (he did this again in 2012), and attempted to convince lawmakers of the unsustainable fiscal path.

He also penned a 2009 book titled “Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility.”

Given the treasure trove of budgetary numbers coming out of the nation’s capital almost daily, such as nearly half of income tax revenues being dedicated to interest payments, Mr. Walker’s warnings have not been heeded nearly two decades later.

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s long-term outlooks, the national debt will eye $50 trillion by 2034, fueled by around $17 trillion in cumulative deficits. As a percentage of GDP, debt held by the public and the deficit will reach 166 percent and 8.5 percent by 2054, respectively, the CBO forecasts.

“Washington has become addicted to spending, deficits, and debt, and they’re charging the credit card and planning to send the bill to younger and future generations of Americans,” Mr. Walker told The Epoch Times.

“That’s irresponsible. It’s unethical, and it’s immoral, and it needs to stop.”

Is the United States past the point of no return?

“Only God knows when the tipping point is going to occur, and God’s not telling us,” he said.

He combs through various metrics to gauge the situation.

One of these is the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is presently at about 122 percent. Outside of the coronavirus pandemic, this is a record high.

Mandatory spending as a percentage of the federal budget is another metric. It currently stands at around 73 percent.

Another one is interest as a percentage of the budget, which is close to 15 percent.

For Mr. Walker, it is not only raw numbers but what the trends are displaying, which requires a deep dive into demographics.

“We have an aging society with longer lifespans, relatively fewer workers, supporting more retirees, and a skills gap,” he noted.

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The Epoch Times

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