Thursday, November 01, 2007

GAO's Warnings about US Fiscal Future

On October 22 & 23, 2007, David M. Walker, the Comptroller General of the United States, made presentations about a "Fiscal Future" facing Americans that will be burdensome without changes, that will be quite challenging to change, but that must be changed, beginning now.

His presentations
at events held in Texas, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, & Massachusetts continued the "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour", which was commenced in September, 2005, & will last through the November, 2008 elections, as sponsored by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The objective of the Tour is:

"To state the facts and speak the truth regarding the nation’s current financial condition and long-term fiscal outlook in order to increase public awareness and accelerate actions by appropriate federal, state, and local officials."
A description of the Tour, with links to its resources, is available here. The list of completed events is available here.

"Startling & scary" is how I would describe the presentations. GAO sounds a wake-up call for planning & acting now to avoid fiscal collapse or revolution in our future.

Each presentation is different, depending upon the audience; but all contain a similar base of historical facts, current trends, & reasonable projections. Each reviews American demographics & life expectancies, the social security system, the Medicare & Medicaid programs, other federal entitlements, worker productivity, health care costs, general taxation, and other fiscal forces that will form America's future fiscal condition. The presentations also compare the status of the US with other countries.

These are links to the recent presentations made available online:
1. "Fiscal, Health, and Retirement Challenges" (GAO-08-237CG, 10/22/07), presented to the Conference of Consulting Actuaries' annual conference, in San Antonio, Texas.

2. "America's Fiscal Future and Retirement Security" (GAO-08-236CG, 10/22/07) presented to the American Council of Life Insurers' CEO Capital Forum, in Washington, D.C.

3. "Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today" (GAO-08-234CG, 10/23/07), presented on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour in Hartford, Connecticut.

4. "America's Fiscal Future" (GAO-08-235CG, 10/23/07), presented to the Association for Financial Professionals' annual conference, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The overall message of the presentations is, "The Sooner We Get Started, the Better". You can start by reviewing one of the presentations.