America’s national debt now exceeds $123 trillion, according to a new report, or more than four times the official figure of $28 trillion, as calculated by the U.S. Treasury Department at the end of March.
Federal spending related to the CCP virus pandemic and economic lockdown added nearly $10 trillion to the total in 2020, according to the latest edition of the “Financial State of the Union 2021” report, compiled and published annually by Chicago-based nonprofit Truth in Accounting (TIA).
But spending amid the pandemic represents only a small portion of the total difference between the official government figure and TIA’s calculation.
“Our measure of the government’s financial condition includes reported federal assets and liabilities, as well as promised, but not funded, Social Security and Medicare benefits,” the report stated.
“Elected and non-elected officials have made repeated financial decisions that have left the federal government with a debt burden of $123.11 trillion, including unfunded Social Security and Medicare promises.”
The TIA report includes in its total debt calculation $55.12 trillion in unfunded Medicare benefits and $41.20 trillion in unfunded Social Security benefits.
Treasury officials don’t include unfunded benefits because they claim recipients have no right to future payments, only to those under current entitlement laws.
The total debt, according to the report, “equates to a $796,000 burden for every federal taxpayer. Because the federal government would need such a vast amount of money from taxpayers to cover this debt, it received an ‘F’ grade for its financial condition.”
Unlike many state governments, the federal government doesn’t maintain a cash reserve to deal with spending necessitated by unexpected crises such as a virus pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic and related stimulus packages have caused some of the deterioration because the government had to borrow money to weather the pandemic. If the federal government was properly prepared for a crisis with a true rainy-day fund, it would not have had to borrow money,” TIA stated.
Defense and veterans’ benefits accounted for the largest share of federal spending in 2020 at 23 percent, followed by health and human services with 19 percent, Social Security with 16 percent, interest on the debt at 5 percent, and 2 percent on education. Fully a third (35 percent) of the spending went to what TIA described as “Other.”
Spokesmen for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), respectively the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee, didn’t respond to The Epoch Times request for comment.
Similarly, a spokesman for House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), didn’t respond.
Mondays are typically “travel days” for senators returning from their states and representatives from the districts.