View Full Version : GAO chief warns economic disaster looms

10-29-06, 03:31 PM
GAO chief warns economic disaster looms (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-10-28-economic-disaster_x.htm)
October 29, 2006 (Matt Crenson, Associated Press)

David Walker sure talks like he's running for office. "This is about the future of our country, our kids and grandkids," the comptroller general of the United States warns a packed hall at Austin's historic Driskill Hotel. "We the people have to rise up to make sure things get changed."

But Walker doesn't want, or need, your vote this November. He already has a job as head of the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress that audits and evaluates the performance of the federal government.

Basically, that makes Walker the nation's accountant-in-chief. And the accountant-in-chief's professional opinion is that the American public needs to tell Washington it's time to steer the nation off the path to financial ruin.

AntiSpin: Thanks javacat97 for the story. Walker's message is none too subtle. Here's the punch line: "A modest rise in interest rates wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, Rogers said. America's consumers have as much of a borrowing problem as their government does, so higher rates could moderate overconsumption and encourage consumer saving. But a big jump in interest rates could cause economic catastrophe. Some economists even predict the government would resort to printing money to pay off its debt, a risky strategy that could lead to runaway inflation." In other words, "Poom."

In The Big Bet (http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=13133_0_24_0_C), my anon co-author and I make the case that only crisis will bring about a solution. Having "Oprah — to sell fiscal responsibility to the American people" is not going to cut it, not after the US government has spent over 35 years selling consumption and dis-saving to the American people.

The US will face the opposite problem that the Japanese faced in 1990s after their stock market collapsed in 1990, followed by a housing bubble collapse in 1993. The Japanese have spent more than a decade trying to teach their citizens to import and spend, after spending generations since WWII teaching them to export and save. Stil, their problem is a much easier one to solve that the US problem; it's always more politically expedient to talk citizens into not sacrificing–to forego immediate gratification and save for the future–than to try to teach them the opposite.

None of us can undo 35 years of mistakes, but read my letter to readers (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=559) for one idea about what you can do.