Daily Archives: Dec. 3, 2012

Real national debt is more than five times larger

Former GOP congressmen Chris Cox and Bill Archer contend that the reason the U.S. hasn’t already reformed Medicare and Social Security is that most people don’t know the size of the unfunded liabilities of the entitlement programs. That’s because the U.S. Treasury isn’t required to include those liabilities in its “balance sheet.” If those liabilities were included, the nation’s debt wouldn’t total $16 trillion but nearly $87 trillion, or 550 percent of the gross domestic product. “When the accrued expenses of the government’s entitlement programs are counted, it becomes clear that to collect enough tax revenue just to avoid going deeper into debt would require over $8 trillion in tax collections annually,” they wrote.

Huelskamp versus VA

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, is among GOP House members dissatisfied with the answers they’re getting about travel and conference spending at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. At a House hearing Wednesday, Huelskamp complained that he’d been waiting 106 days for information about two 2011 Orlando conferences: “This is an issue of competence, the failure to either know the answers or refuse to answer them. It’s about a gentleman in Syracuse, Kan., who had to drive 522 miles to the nearest VA hospital. In that time, you could fly folks to Orlando for a great conference. And you won’t even tell the American people who attended? Either you’re trying to hide something or it’s total incompetence.” VA Deputy Secretary Scott Gould defended the department’s response, telling Huelskamp it had supplied 35,000 documents, answered 6,000 policy questions and attended 100 hearings and 1,100 staff briefings. “Sir,” Gould added, “you can sit here and shake your head, but the reality is there’s a tremendous amount of information that flows to this committee and others on a daily basis by a very competent team.”

Dubious, bogus and utterly phony headlines

The following satirical headlines come from borowitzreport.com and theonion.com:

Obama: ‘I Will Allow 10 States to Secede, But No More’
Republicans Blast Susan Rice for Misleading Public: ‘That’s Our Job’
Disturbance of Arafat’s Grave Casts Horrible Curse on Middle East
Congressmen Torn Between Meaningless Pledge to Anti-Tax Zealot, Well-Being of Nation
Obama: Second Term Will Be Like ‘Breaking Bad’ Times ‘Homeland’ Plus ‘The Sopranos’
New Season of ‘Downton Abbey’ Jumps Forward to Year 2121