U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) highlighted the release today of the U.S. Treasury Department's annual Financial Report of the United States, indicating a $59.5 trillion long-term budget shortfall, an increase of $6.3 trillion over 2011. The Financial Report is the only annual government financial statement published in public-company format, which accounts for unfunded liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare.
"It's even worse than it looks, and our cost of inaction on the debt has increased to $17.3 billion each day," said Cooper. "Washington is the last accounting-free zone in America. This report is the only accurate accounting of what's on the national credit card, including some of our most sacred programs. Once we diagnose the problem, we can start to cure it."
Cooper has been a longtime advocate of the federal government using accrual or "real" accounting instead of the cash accounting method it currently uses, which hides the true cost of our national debt. In 2006, he published a foreword to the 2005 Financial Report of the United States.
Cooper is also a longtime advocate for a balanced, bipartisan debt reduction plan. In March 2012, Cooper and Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) introduced the only bipartisan budget, based on the proposal from the Simpson-Bowles National Commission On Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The Cooper-LaTourette budget would reduce the debt by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
The Treasury report and a citizen guide to the report can be found online.