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Unfunded Liabilities and the National Debt

September 12, 2010 - 2:28pm
Richard Sutton by Richard Sutton


Lets add unfunded liabilities to the national debt calculation Relying on data from the US Federal Reserve and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) The U.S. Government has made a hodge-podge of financial guarantees totaling $12.9 TRILLION (that's 8.2 trillion from the Federal Reserve, 2.7 Trillion from the U.S. Treasury, and 2 trillion from the FDIC), but wait, there's more!

The US government has also made asset purchases of $2.3 Trillion, Guaranteed $7.3 Trillion worth of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae debts and made other guarantees of $6.6 Trillion to the US banking system. That's a total of 29.1 Trillion dollars! I should point out that not all that money has actually been spent yet. Things would admittedly have to go (yet more) wrong in order to trigger those guarantees in full.

For a dollar value that is likely to startle any working American note that according to the Social Security Administration, the federal government's unfunded liabilities (obligations expected to be paid in the future which there is no plan or reserve to pay them with) equal $101 TRILLION, that's a liability of over $800,000 for every full-time working American. These long-term debts are primarily due to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

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