Obama rhetoric versus fiscal reality

Barack Obama and his team are on the verge once again of making him into a parody of himself. Last year it was his promise to stop the ocean levels from rising, and the rather humorous claim that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Then there was the speech in Berlin, and the Greek columns that were used on stage in the stadium where he gave his acceptance speech. Over the weekend he took the train into Washington as Abraham Lincoln did in 1861 and then spoke on the steps of the Lincoln memorial like Martin Luther King Jr. did in 1963.

I marvel at people who live above any sense of embarrassment. I can image all of his twenty- and thirty-something speechwriters sitting in a room giving themselves goose bumps as they draft all the lofty rhetoric. Tomorrow’s inaugural address promises to be a doozie. Expect Peggy Noonan to be in tears.

Those of us who look forward to Wednesday and the rest of the next four years wait in eager anticipation of how the incoming administration will deal with a world that has a very different definition of change.

We will especially enjoy watching how Mr. Obama deals with fiscal reality. My personal hope is that his refrain “yes we can” doesn’t mean leaving even more debt to future generations and hiring even more federal bureaucrats. I fear that I hope against hope.

What follows is the latest from the Northbrook, Illinois based Truth in Accounting. We couldn’t have said it better. Emphasis added.

January 15, 2009
Darlene Porteus, 847-835-5200


Institute for Truth in Accounting again calls for Congress
to face the truth about our nation’s finances

Chicago – Today, the Institute for Truth in Accounting released its annual “Financial State of the Union,” and the numbers are not good and they are getting worse every day. America’s share of our nation’s financial hole is now $59 trillion-each of us owes $194,400.

“We can fix this problem, if everyone in the U.S. sends all of their assets-their value in their houses, cars, investments-to the federal government,” said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of the Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA). She continued, “Then the government would have to make investments that would earn a high enough rate of return to fund all of the promises that have been made.”

“As the people of this country inaugurate their new president next week, and as the 111th Congress begins, it is imperative the truthful condition of our nation’s finances be revealed,” said Roger Nelson, Chairman of IFTA’s Board of Directors. He highlighted, “The truth is together with unfunded liabilities and promises to our retirees we’re in the hole for over $59 trillion. We need to understand this truth before we can move forward with any new proposals.”

The Financial State of the Union, available at www.truthinaccounting.org, provides this accounting by outlining the financial situation of the nation, including unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement benefits. The report, which is available in a one-page, downloadable PDF format, is designed to draw attention to our true financial situation at such a critical time as our President-Elect’s first address.

“Debt has become our country’s drug of choice, personally and nationally, and until we are honest with ourselves about how much we really owe, we can’t begin to solve this problem,”warned Weinberg. “Treasury and the politicians say our nation’s debt is only $10.6 trillion, which assumes we owe no promises benefits to our seniors.”

The IFTA is the sponsor of www.truthin2008.org, a national campaign to bring awareness to our nation’s pressing financial issues. The IFTA is currently preparing for the launch of TruthIn2010.org. For more information, contact Darlene Porteus at 847-835-5200 or visitwww.TruthInAccounting.org.

About the Institute for Truth in Accounting

The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) is dedicated to promoting honest, accurate, and transparent accounting at all levels of government and business. As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the IFTA works to expose accounting deficiencies while promoting better, more accessible delivery of accurate government financial data-and, in turn, providing a foundation for more informed public policy. The IFTA provides its expertise to develop more effective accounting standards and deliver accurate government financial information to policymakers, opinion leaders, and citizens, so they can all work for a more secure financial future. To learn more, please visit our website at www.TruthInAccounting.org.


1500 Skokie Boulevard, Suite 304
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