U.S. government’s financial condition worsened by $8.16T in 2019

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Even before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government was facing dire financial conditions, with its overall financial condition worsening by $8.16 trillion in 2019, according to a new analysis.

The Financial State of the Union report from the group Truth in Accounting argues that the overall decline in net position of the government presents a more accurate picture of the federal government’s financial condition than last year’s budget deficit of $984 billion. The organization's measure of the government’s negative net position includes reported federal assets and liabilities, along with promised, but unfunded, Social Security and Medicare benefits.

“Our elected officials have made repeated financial decisions that have left the federal government with a debt burden of $113.27 trillion, including unfunded Social Security and Medicare promises,” said the report. “That equates to a $737,000 burden for every federal taxpayer.”

Truth in Accounting is giving the federal government a grade of F on its accounting abilities. It pointed out that the Treasury Department only includes $173.70 billion of Social Security and Medicare liabilities on the federal balance sheet because recipients supposedly don’t have the right to benefits beyond those that are currently due and laws to reduce or stop benefits can be passed anytime. The report pointed to $52.72 trillion in unfunded Medicare benefits and $37.60 trillion in unfunded Social Security benefits. The U.S. government has $3.99 trillion in assets compared to $117.26 trillion worth of bills.

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