Sunday, September 2, 2018

It's Really Bad: Growth in US Government Obligations

As part of a multi-person email exchange, Marc Joffe, senior policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, writes:
Each year the Treasury publishes audited financial statements. ( See
These statements show the federal government’s liabilities using accrual accounting concepts.  Social insurance liabilities are excluded from the balance sheet but shown in a separate footnote.  If you combine the on and off balance sheet liabilities, you should get a total debt level of about $71 trillion.  I gathered these statements for the last 17 years and graphed this debt calculation as you can see here: 
Click on chart for larger view.


  1. Robert, do you think that the dog-and-pony show that DJT is running with the tariffs is merely a smokescreen to default on the debt?

    1. The government needs more revenue and increased demand for the dollar as countries are ditching the dollar in bilateral trade. Obama tried to get traction on the carbon tax or the imposition of a federal VAT tax, and the people saw through those scams. Trump was able to excite his base into paying more for goods where Obama had failed, using tariffs. Similar end result, but without a carbon tax or a VAT tax. Some people here tariffs, and they equate it with "Our Jobs!!"