We’re all in trouble: Government debt is about to hit hopeless levels
by Sam Rolley
The nation’s financial situation is so bad that the federal government will owe more than the entire economy can produce in a matter of years.
That’s according to Government Accountability Office auditor Gene Dodaro, who made the shocking revelation during testimony before the Senate Budget Committee last week.
“We’re very heavily leveraged in debt,” he said. “The historical average post-World War II of how much debt we held as a percent of gross domestic product was 43 percent on average; right now we’re at 74 percent.”
That’s bad news for the taxpayers and savers on the hook for the government debt. Find out why here.
“The highest in the United States government’s history of debt held by the public as a percent of gross domestic product was 1946, right after World War II,” he said. “We’re on mark to hit that in the next 15 to 25 years.”
Without significant government efforts to address the nation’s runaway spending on things like healthcare, the auditor predicts that could snowball to as high of 300 percent of GDP.
“We’re going to owe more than our entire economy is producing and by definition this is not sustainable,” he pointed out.
Part of the problem is improper payments, of which GAO auditors found the government made $136.7 billion worth of in 2016.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell exactly where else the government is wasting tons of money because agencies have obscured hundreds of billions of dollars in spending by cooking the books.
“The government-wide financial statements that the GAO audits tell us what came into the government’s coffers and what went out, what the government owns and what it owes, and if the operations are financially sustainable,” said Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.). “But can we trust the information in the statements?”
Noting that GAO says we can’t, Enzi added: “The sketchiness is such that GAO remains unable to even issue an audit opinion on the government’s books.”