Spooky Economy

   Transparency and Knowledge Dispel Fear

Accumulation of debt is perhaps the NATURAL DISEASE of all Governments. And it is not easy to conceive anything more likely than this to lead to great and convulsive revolutions of Empire.
— Alexander Hamiton

Walker was appointed U.S. Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008 by President Bill Clinton. As comptroller, he was responsible for making sure the financial statements from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget where accurate before they would be given to the President and Congress.

Current Economic Crisis

As the country's accountant, Walker spent many years warning politicians of the dire situation the United States was in. He told of his concern that massive entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare could no longer be paid for because there were too many people reaching the age of qualification all at once. [1@3:13] He finally gave up trying to move politicians to action and has been trying to get word out directly to the public. [1@1:18]

Walker began touring the United States to warn the American public about the unsustainable debt that he had seen grow during his term. He believes that the survival of the country is at stake. [1@1:45]

With all the money going to interest payments, there will be no money for national defense, homeland security, education, or any other essential programs. [1@4:18]

In spite of his efforts at getting the word out, Walker's tours received little or no press coverage even though he was a high public official. He attributes this to the fact that, when things seem to be going well, many people believe the problem cannot be so big. [1@2:53]

Walker was particularly bothered by the recent addition of prescription medicines to Medicare program saying that “it was the single-most irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.” This bill added $8 trillion dollars of benefits on to of a $15 trillion dollar underfunding. [1@5:27]

After completion of his 10 year term, he was hired by a philanthropist and went on to produce a documentary film entitled “I.O.U.S.A.” The film restated his observations that the unfunded obligations and interest on those obligations were destined to bankrupt the United States. [2] A shortened version of the movie was also released. [4]

Quotes

We've been to thirteen cities outside of Washington... [people] are absolutely starved for two things: the truth and leadership.[1@1:38]
[W]e suffer from a fiscal cancer. It is growing within us, and if we do not treat it, it could have catastrophic consequences for our country.[1@3:02]
I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but our own fiscal irresponsibility.[1@0:54]
This is not just about numbers. We are mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren at record rates, and that is not only an issue of fiscal irresponsibility, it's an issue of immorality.[1@7:43]
America faces four serious deficits today. The first is a budget deficit. The second is a savings deficit. The third is a balance of payments deficit (of which trade deficit is a subset). And the fourth, and most serious of all, is a leadership deficit.[1@3:14]
Tough choices are inevitable... That's why we need a special process. They won't be made in my opinion... they won't be made in the regular order because the regular order is disfunctional[5e@5:32]

Personal Concerns

None reported publicly.

Proposed Solutions

  • Serious consideration of all options, nothing is “taken off the table” [5e@4:29]
  • Budget Reform [5e@5:17]
  • Defense spending reform [5e@5:19]
  • Social Security reform [5e@5:22]
  • Healthcare reform [5e@5:26]
  • Tax reform [5e@5:28]

Must-see Resources

  1. Video: "Wake Up Call". An interview by Andy Court (60 Minutes) [March 4, 2007]
    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Q14HOBThM
  2. Video: "IOUSA". A presentation by the Peterson Foundation [2008]
    URL: http://www.iousathemovie.com/
  3. Video: "IOUSA Solutions". A presentation by the Peterson Foundation [September 2009]
    URL: http://www.pgpf.org/Media/Video/2010/09/iousa-solutions.aspx
  4. Video: "IOUSA – The 30 minute version” [October 31, 2008]
    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_TjBNjc9Bo
  5. Video: “IOUSA Solutions” [August 25, 2010]
    1. URL Part 1 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5dT2uwj5jA
    2. URL Part 2 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnzXlHD-F-Y
    3. URL Part 3 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HSzIGVal38
    4. URL Part 4 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ain_VXnUhs
    5. URL Part 5 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuvx4-5vszU

Questions To Ask

To be added

U.S. National Debt

Added March 22, 2008 Posted December 4, 2010 Revised December 27, 2010

This is my opinion. It's a work in progress. I hope it's helpful.

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