Posts Tagged ‘entitlements’

David Walker and financial boondoggles

September 16, 2010

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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