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IPFS News Link • Government Debt & Financing

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

•, by Andrew Moran

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.