Government, Inc. With One Checking Account

Government, Inc. has been spending money like there is no limit to what we have or what we can afford.  I noticed on the news today that the majority of economists think the monetary policies of the Fed have been about right but that a majority of them do not like the fiscal policies of the government–it is spending too much and not collecting enough.  Our deficits have been bad on occasion from time to time but relative to our GDP they have been more or less manageable and there was some hope and general agreement that spending would be reined in.  You recall the Gramm-Rudman act that required balanced budgets except for extraordinary circumstances and other like proposals.  We have nothing remotely resembling that on the horizon now.    The financial situation for the country is scary and will impede our ability to do all we want and all we should in vital areas.   An honest and, dare I use the word, transparent reporting of the nation’s financial condition would be a wonderful first step for all of us–we peons out in the boon docks and our lord and masters in Washington.

It has occurred to me that one of the reasons we are in such a mess is that our accounting method is totally out of whack with reality.  We have so many operations of Government, Inc. that are “off the books” as it were or kept separately.  We don’t do a simple balance sheet for all liabilities and we sure don’t do a regular cash flow analysis that makes sense to the average Joe.  We are a nation of average Joes which our leaders seem to forget all the time.  If I were king for a day the first thing I would do about our financial affairs would be to insist on one checking account for the Government.    That would be a shocker for starts.  I would not allow all this separate accounting for the operations of government. Whether the money was going out for Social Security, the Pentagon, Medicare or food stamps or the pay the interests to those holding our bills and Treasury notes, I would require all the money come from one account and and that all the deposits go into that one account.  I know many say we already do that with the Treasury.  Well, technically that might be true but the various expenditures are not accounted for or reported that way. It is a mish mash. 

We all understand at the personal level  and even for businesses the need to balance our checkbooks every month.  The government should have to do that too.  Just like you and me and the accounting of that checking account should be on line every month.  No hiding the social security or medicare payments off in some other category or account.  All the checks would come from the same account and the deposits would go into that account.  It would be a genuine wake up call for everyone.  The reports we get now are confusing and frankly dishonest in that they don’t give a straighforward and accurate account monthly of our income and expenses.   They should have to list everything.  After all they spent the money.  Your bank statement each month list all your checks. The Government should have to do the same thing.  Every check for everything and to everybody.  We all have an interest in where the money is being spent.  If money is going to ACORN or to Americorp community organizers then I want to see it every month.  You pick your own pet peeve you would like to track.  Why don’t we have the right to see that detail.  It is our money after all, not theirs. 

Forget the details, the politicos would go ballistic with this proposals.  There is no way they would want us common folks to see the money going out the door in its gory detail.   Your bank charges you if your are OD or over drawn on your checking account at the bank.  You have to make a deposit or they will bounce your checks.  The Government merely prints up the extra money it needs but they should have to report that every month.  When the deposits don’t equal the expenditures they should show us the newly minted money deposits.  I want them to be accountable with our money.  I want them to quit playing games and consider it a “cut” in spending when all they do is hold an increase in spending for the Commerce department to 5% rather than the projected 8% increase.  That is not a cut and we all know it.  Like that old saying —show me the money, and now, show me the accounting.  Let’s balance that Government, Inc. checkbook every month and make available to the account holders (us) all the details, where every single check went.

Will the Israelis take out the Iran nukes before the end of the year?  That is becoming a more realistic question.  It is no longer in the realm of the hypothetical.   We need to prepare for those consequences.


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Filed under business, Economics, government, Politics

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