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Our True National Debt: The Federal Fisc’s Enron-esque Omissions February 23, 2013 9:30 AM | Tagged as Enron Debt Entitlements

WSJ, November 26, 2012, page A17: “Why $16 Trillion Only Hints at the True U.S. Debt” by Chris Cox and Bill Archer

Wanna wake-up call?  A decade ago, Enron was rightly vilified and their executives sent to the gray-bar motel for conveniently forgetting to include significant liabilities on their balance sheet.  How could anyone be so disingenuous to blatantly hide significant debt from its owners and potential investors?  The outrage in Congress gave us Sarbanes-Oxley, regulations intended to avoid such pernicious malfeasance in the private sector ever again.

OK…let this grab you. Unlike public corporations, your federal government is not including all its liabilities on its own balance sheet.

Yep, those same guys and gals who gave us the sanctimonious Sarbanes-Oxley.

We often hear about the national debt, now approaching $17 Trillion. Guess what? I leaves off the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, a mere $20.5 Trillion and $42.8 Trillion, respectively.  When those and a few other smaller phantom debts are added in, our national debt, according to Cox and Archer, becomes about $86 Trillion.

To avoid going deeper in debt on these two entitlements, the federal government needs to collect annually about $8 Trillion from taxpayers. Is that a big number? Consider this, the entire income for every American who earns more than $66,193 annually, is about $5 Trillion.  The total income of all US corporations is less than $1.6 Trillion. And we need $8 Trillion to keep our commitments on entitlements!

We be in trouble, folks.

So let’s be “happy, happy, happy,” as the guy on Duck Dynasty says. But “happy” isn’t gonna last unless major changes to these entitlements are made.

Enron execs, take pride. Our political leaders have turned your past sins into an art form.


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