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Public Statements

Open Up the Government Books

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Yesterday, the Medicare and Social Security Trustees issued a new report that laid out unequivocally that our current Medicare and Social Security programs are on a path for financial implosion and are in need of serious reform.

In fact, the Medicare insolvency date has moved up to 2017. And, that doesn't include the impact of the so-called "stimulus" bill, which could accelerate insolvency by about 6 months.

And, we're facing a strain on Social Security like never before, with nearly 80 million retiring Baby Boomers tapping into the funds soon we'll be spending more to pay benefits than what the system receives in payroll taxes. Yet, we continue to carry on with the status quo, every now and then saying that we need to reform it, but not actually doing anything about it.

It's crucial that Americans know full well what the government is doing with the government books. You have to be able to hold your lawmakers accountable for the way they spend your money. I've introduced the Truth In Accounting Act to make government finances truly transparent and open. Not only would financial commitments be crystal clear to Congress, but also to the taxpayers.

Currently, when Congress and the President prepare budget proposals and pass spending bills, they have the luxury of ignoring shortfalls year after year. They prepare, present, and approve budgets which project these estimates over the short-term - usually five or ten years. And, there are a lot of things that can be done on paper to paper over the long-term shortfalls.

My Truth in Accounting Act would require the President to consider these long-term shortfalls when he proposes his budget. And, it would require both the GAO (Government Accountability Office) and the U.S. Treasury to report this information to the Congress so that the numbers can be used when we're finalizing the annual budget.

Furthermore, my legislation would require that the report be translated into easily comprehensible terms so that nothing could be hidden by complex jargon. The government's fiscal imbalance would be presented in the whole, and as distributed per person, per worker, and per household.

We can't fix our current budget shortfalls if we continue to dig ourselves deeper in debt, and we can't solve our Social Security conundrum by simply putting a patch on it year after year. It's time to take an honest account of our finances instead of mortgaging our debt to future generations of Americans.


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