Walking a Fine Political Line • Long Beach Post

David Walker is walking a fine political line. Easy for him to do because he’s telling the truth. This past Sunday night, 60 Minutes interviewed the Comptroller General of the United States David M. Walker. Walker leads the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and is the country’s chief accountant. The GAO’s mission is to improve the performance and assure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.

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Armed with a PowerPoint presentation and a message, Walker is on the speaking circuit going from city to city, arguing that our most urgent challenge is the federal government’s worsening financial situation, not terrorism. Walker is not elected. He was appointed in 1998 to a 15 year term.

Walker is hot on providing a return. According to the GAO web site, measurable financial benefits from GAO work: $51 billion — a $105.00 return on every dollar invested in GAO and recommendations to improve government operations total 2,097 (At the end of fiscal 2006, 82 percent of the recommendations GAO made five years earlier had been implemented.)

He is telling a story no one in Washington will deal with – our massive federal deficit needs to be controlled or else.

Walker: “Perhaps the most urgent challenge is our nation’s worsening financial condition and growing long-term fiscal imbalance. Largely due to the aging of the baby boomers and rising health care costs, America faces decades of red ink. The facts on this aren’t in question. Given our worsening financial outlook, the government’s recent spending sprees and deep tax cuts are nothing less than a body blow to overall fiscal responsibility.

Despite what some say, deficits do matter-especially if they’re large and structural in nature. As a CPA and the federal official who signs off on the audit of the government’s consolidated financial statements, I’m here to tell you that our nation’s financial condition is worse than advertised.”

The truth is our country faces not one but four interrelated deficits. Together, these deficits have serious implications for our future role in the world, our future standard of living, and even our future domestic tranquility and national security.

The first is the federal budget deficit. Thanks to a combination of out-of-control federal spending and several major tax cuts, federal budget deficits have returned with a vengeance. Depending on which accounting method you use, the federal deficit last year ranged from $248 billion to $450 billion.”

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