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USA Today: Real deficit dwarfs official tally of $1.3 trillion, instead is actually $5 TRILLION DOLLARS.

The typical American household would have paid nearly all of its income in taxes last year to balance the budget if the government used standard accounting rules to compute the deficit, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

By Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty Images

Congress exempts itself from including the cost of promised retirement benefits.

EnlargeBy Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty Images

Congress exempts itself from including the cost of promised retirement benefits.

Sponsored LinksUnder those accounting practices, the government ran red ink last year equal to $42,054 per household — nearly four times the official number reported under unique rules set by Congress.

A U.S. household's median income is $49,445, the Census reports.

The big difference between the official deficit and standard accounting: Congress exempts itself from including the cost of promised retirement benefits. Yet companies, states and local governments must include retirement commitments in financial statements, as required by federal law and private boards that set accounting rules.

The deficit was $5 trillion last year under those rules. The official number was $1.3 trillion. Liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs rose by $3.7 trillion in 2011, according to government actuaries, but the amount was not registered on the government's books.

Contrasting deficitsThe federal government calculates the deficit in a way that makes the number smaller than if standard accounting rules were followed (in trillions).

Sources: USA TODAY research; Congressional Budget Office

Deficits are a major issue in this year's presidential campaign, but USA TODAY has calculated federal finances under accounting rules since 2004 and found no correlation between fluctuations in the deficit and which party ran Congress or the White House.

Key findings:

•Social Security had the biggest financial slide. The government would need $22.2 trillion today, set aside and earning interest, to cover benefits promised to current workers and retirees beyond what taxes will cover. That's $9.5 trillion more than was needed in 2004.

•Federal debt and retiree commitments equal $561,254 per household. By contrast, an average household owes a combined $116,057 for mortgages, car loans and other debts.•Deficits from 2004 to 2011 would be six times the official total of $5.6 trillion reported.

"By law, the federal government can't tell the truth," says accountant Sheila Weinberg of the Chicago-based Institute for Truth in Accounting.

Jim Horney, a former Senate budget staff expert now at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says retirement programs should not count as part of the deficit because, unlike a business, Congress can change what it owes by cutting benefits or lifting taxes.

"It's not easy, but it can be done. Retirement programs are not legal obligations," he says.

Added: May-24-2012 Occurred On: May-24-2012
By: yorba
Tags: government spending, deficits, obama debt, lies, fiscal calamity
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
Views: 1116 | Comments: 12 | Votes: 4 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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Liveleak opposes racial slurs - if you do spot comments that fall into this category, please report them for us to review.

    Posted May-24-2012 By 

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  • This is just a History lesson, to all regardless of party . I bet I know who wouldn't read it -- those afraid of the truth. It is history and nothing can change it.
    The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was actually January 3rd 2007, the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.
    The Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.

    Posted May-24-2012 By 

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  • LOL. Great accompanying photograph yorba.

    Posted May-24-2012 By 

    (5) | Report


    Well, that's what the picture made me feel like.

    Is it possible that the deficit is so high, even the politicians can't comprehend the actual total..... and they sit back and look like the pic?

    Snickering and snorting at each other?

    Posted May-24-2012 By 

    (5) | Report

  • What amazes me is that liberals resist including pensions in the deficit numbers because, according to their argument, these entitlements can be cut and are not legal obligations. Actually try and revise those entitlement benefits, not cutting them but merely making the programs fiscally sustainable? The same liberals scream bloody murder, declare Social Security and Medicare sacrosanct, and film an advertisement of someone pushing grandma off of a cliff.

    $5 boggles the mind. E More..

    Posted May-24-2012 By 

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  • There's lies, damn lies and government statistics.

    Posted May-24-2012 By 

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  • Can the country afford having Obwama for 4 more years? I don't think so!

    Posted May-24-2012 By 

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