Letters to the Editor 9/30/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

National debt wake-up call

Dear Editor:

I read the commentary by Woody Barber in Andalusia Star-News Thursday’s paper, September 25. 2003 entitled "This should scare each one of us." Mr. Barber, along with many of us, are deeply concerned about this nation's debt.

Much more significant than Mr. Barber or myself being concerned about the nation's debt, Mr. David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States of the General Accounting Office, gave a speech to the National Press Corp on September 17, 2003. The title of the speech: "Truth and Transparency: The Federal Government’s Financial Condition and Fiscal Outlook." For those of you with internet connections, or you can go to the Public Library, entire www.gao.gov; then view the National Press Corp speech in its entirety.

Keep in mind that ALL of us are concerned, but Mr. Walker is the head man of the accounting "firm" which oversees the Federal Government; so this is not just a "citizen": This is the Accounting Firm boss. Remember Enron and the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson LLP and the cover up!

Near the beginning of his earth shaking speech, Mr. Walker says, "I have not come here to criticize the actions of any particular person, proposal or political party on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Rather, my remarks are intended to serve as a 'wake up call' and an attempt to simply state the facts and speak truth to the American people, key policy makers and the press in a manner consistent with GAO's core values of accountability, integrity and reliability."

The comment next is mine: My Goodness, he is making a Wake Up Call to the National Press Corp and to the American People!

Has anybody heard anything about this on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox, or any other news media? But, we can hear about Kobe Bryant or Laci Peterson!

The United States of America does NOT have ONE decent informative news media! They are all in it for the MONEY! The advertiser's dollars, the ratings! NONE want to deal with real news because it is not what YOU want to hear! It won't sell!

I quote Mr. Walker, "The good news is that as of September 30, 2002, we had about $1 trillion in reported assets. The bad news is that we had almost $8 trillion in reported liabilities. According to my math, that left us with an approximate $7 trillion accumulated deficit, or a little over $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States."

Later on in his speech, "Importantly, while we are starting off in a financial hole we don't really have a very good picture of how deep it is. Specifically, there are a number of very significant items that are not currently included as liabilities in the federal government’s financial statement; for example, several trillion dollars in non-marketable government securities in so-called 'Trust Funds'. In the case of Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, the federal government took in taxpayer money, spent it on other items and replaced it with an IOU. Given this fact, why aren't the amounts attributed to such activities shown as a 'liability' of the US Government? At the present time, they are not!

Does this make sense, especially when the government continues to tell Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries that they can count on the bonds in these 'Trust Funds'? Is the federal government trying to have its cake and eat it too?"

The comment next is mine, You see, my fear, Mr. Barber's fear and all the others out there who are 'scared' is of little significance compared to the Accounting Firm: Comptroller General of the United States! And we know now for a fact just how much the Federal Government is concealing the truth, or lying as we call this in rural Covington County, Alabama!

Later in Mr. Walker's speech, "These additional amounts total tens of trillions of dollars in discounted present value terms. Stated differently, they are likely to exceed $100,000 in additional burden for every man, woman and child in America today, and these amounts are growing every day."

The comment next is mine, Let's see if my math is acceptable: You add the known debt of $24,000 with the "likely debt" of another $100,000 that comes to $124,000 per man, woman and child! Did you actually KNOW that there is no such thing as a "Social Security Trust Fund", or a "Medicare Trust Fund"? The Federal Government in addition to spending all that it possibly can from known revenues (income taxes, tariffs, etc) is also spending YOUR Social Security money and your Medicare money and replacing it with an IOU? AND, going further in DEBT! Also, you don’t have to have my comment. Mr. Walker, Comptroller General of the General Accounting Office (whose term in office expires 2013) has issued a "Wake up Call." On September 18th, I e-mailed this important speech to both Senator Sessions and Senator Shelby; thinking they may not be aware of this wake up call. I haven't received a reply, but I hope that you will issue a Wake Up Call to our Government Representatives. Maybe the more people who alert them, the better, I just don't know.

But, I am scared.

Thad Straughn