In an Op Ed article last fall in the Wall Street Journal two former Congressmen, Chris Cox and Bill Archer, point out that the total US government debt, now over $16 trillion, is only a fraction of the total unfunded liabilities of the government, which now exceed $87 trillion. The unfunded liabilities represent future expected payments for Social Security, Medicare benefits for currently employed workers as well as current retirees and also the future retirement benefits of current federal employees and retirees.
If this enormous sum of already obligated future payouts is not bad enough, even scarier is the rate of growth of these unfunded liabilities. In calendar year 2011, the accrued expense was $7 trillion, double the entire current revenue of the federal government of about $3.5 trillion. In other words this awful problem is getting much worse every year.
The House Republican majority is trying to address our almost incomprehensibly bad debt problem. Will they be able to generate enough public support to force the Senate and the President to take the problem seriously? Right now the odds do not look very good for effective action to be taken. An enormous crisis is almost on our doorsteps. How bad will it have to get before public opinion demands action? It is very hard to remain optimistic about the future of our country when we appear to lack the collective will to take the action which is so obviously needed