Walker’s Wakeup Tour
Not that congressional lawmakers want to trumpet these things as they seek to convince voters of their merits, but David Walker, the U.S. Comptroller General, is back touring the country with his charts and indignation in tow, and he has some projections about our national finances that the public might be interested to learn.
Should it bother us, for example, that foreign investors held 44% of our public debt in 2006 — up from 28% just 10 years earlier? Or that discretionary spending (ie, that which Congress controls) constituted 67% of the federal budget in 1966, but now represents just 38%? Or that Medicare is expected to grow three times as quickly as the rest of the economy over the next 25 years? Or that Congress is doing nothing about it?
Not that Walker’s message is new. This guy’s been screaming from the rafters for years about just how big a hole we’re digging via promised federal spending (not to mention just how stupid it is to be claiming family values at the same time we’re spending away our kids’ futures.)
But he probably shouldn’t hold his breath, either. Last week Congress approved an economic stimulus package containing $168 billion in tax rebates and other benefits, all of it borrowed from abroad. Bush is expected to sign the bill Wednesday.
As Peter Orszag, head of the Congressional Budget Office, told reporters recently: “The political system is not very good at dealing with gradual problems. It’s good at dealing with crises.”
Batten down the hatches…