David Walker and financial boondoggles

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David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United states, was in town recently to talk at Senator Orrin Hatch’s “Economic Summit”.

Walker served as Comptroller General and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, his tenure as the federal government’s chief auditor spanned both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Normally a 15-year position, Walker stepped down after ten years when he was personally recruited by Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, and former Secretary of Commerce to lead his new foundation. The foundation distributed the film I.O.U.S.A. that looks at the alarming financial situation we find ourselves in.

Walker has compared the present-day United States with the Roman Empire in its decline, saying the U.S. government is on a “burning platform” of “unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, expensive overcommitments to government provided health care, swelling Medicare and Social Security costs, the enormous expense of a prospective universal health care system, immigration, and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon.”
In 2007, Walker called the Medicare Part D program “probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s. I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” he continued “but our own fiscal irresponsibility.”

“I’m going to show you some numbers…they’re all big and they’re all bad,” he told CBS. “You know the American people, I tell you, they are absolutely starved for two things: the truth, and leadership. What’s going on right now is we’re spending more money than we make…we’re charging it to a credit card…and expecting our grandchildren to pay for it. And that’s absolutely outrageous.” He was clearly able to read the writing on the wall when he continued: “The fact is, is that we don’t face an immediate crisis. And, so people say, ‘What’s the problem?’ The answer is, we 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.” The cancer, Walker says, are massive entitlement programs we can no longer afford.

“It’s the number one fiscal challenge for the federal government, it’s the number one fiscal challenge for state governments and it’s the number one competitive challenge for American business.”

In an ironic twist, Senator Hatch voted for Medicare Part D.

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5 Responses to “David Walker and financial boondoggles”

  1. Aaron Gabrielson Says:

    Amen. Every candidate I meet, I ask them about Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. These unfunded obligations make all the earmarks, farm subsidies, bailouts, and stimulus packages look like nothing. Republicans are all up in arms about the cost of ObamaCare but it only adds about $1 Trillion to the deficit. The big three entitlements are $60 Trillion in the hole.

    90% of the political debate gets spent talking about the spending that is only 10% of the problem. It is the same as if you and your spouse spent all your time trying to save money on your cable bill when you have a lease on a Mercedes and a million dollar mortgage you can’t pay.

    Voting for Medicare Part D is a signal that you need to be voted out of office. It was totally irresponsible to vote to EXPAND coverage, when you have no hope of paying for all the stuff you already promised!

    Lets keep the heat on these politicians about entitlements, it is the #1 problem facing this country. Many Republicans are wrongly focused in on immigration, abortion, bailouts and gay marriage. If we go bankrupt, all those other issues won’t mean anything. I like America and would sort of like it stay around for a while. Entitlements are set to destroy it.

    As of today, each of my little kids owe $42,000 in Federal debt. If you add the future unfunded obligations of entitlements they are each $250,000 in the hole. Isn’t that reckless and immoral?

    This issue is the main reason to vote out Jim Matheson, he is part of this problem, not the solution. Most of the Republicans in Congress are part of the problem as well, which is why Orrin Hatch is going down next.

    Sorry Orrin, what were you thinking voting for Medicare Part D? That giving grandma medicine is worth bankrupting the nation? Not smart.

  2. Cameron Says:

    I love David Walker. I’ve been linking his 60 Minutes interview all over Utah blogs for a couple of years now, but no one believed me. Maybe now that the esteemed Ms. Richardson has cast her ever illuminating light on him his message will be taken seriously. 🙂

  3. hollyonthehill Says:

    Sorry I’m slow to the party. 🙂 Certainly the economy is front and center – expect more blog posts from me on this important topic.

  4. Don Says:

    Of course Orin voted for Medicare Part D, as did ANY politician that wanted to maintain their office in the coming years. The Baby boomer vote is just as important now as it has been on any issue. Elderly Health Care is now where their focus is, as that is the age they are coming to.

    Forget party lines, partisan politics in BS and Hot air, take away the check book, DEMAND balanced budgets, FORCE responsible & efficient spending. Get rid of Corporate sponsored ransacking, Get rid of Bail outs, if you can’t run an efficient, effective business, then your going out of business. We can’t continue to allow our corporations to operate like Trust Fund Kids, with nothing to loose and guaranteed money in the bank. End the Offshore Biz and Tax shelters that shipped our jobs overseas.

  5. Aaron Gabrielson Says:

    There was a small courageous minority that voted against Medicare Part D:

    Chafee (R-RI), Nay
    Ensign (R-NV), Nay
    Graham (R-SC), Nay
    Gregg (R-NH), Nay
    Hagel (R-NE), Nay
    Lott (R-MS), Nay
    McCain (R-AZ), Nay
    Nickles (R-OK), Nay
    Sununu (R-NH), Nay

    Props to these legislators. They should be congratulated for voting no on this completely irresponsible bill.

    Too bad Orrin, you aren’t on this list. Bad move.

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