A Wall Street Journal column from last year highlights the lack of honesty in government accounting. The column speaks of fiscal year 2008. That period of time ended on September 30, 2008.
It has been widely noted that 2009 will have the first “trillion-dollar deficit” in American history. Actually it’s the second. In fiscal 2008, the national debt increased from $9 trillion to slightly over $10 trillion. Yet the budget deficit in the last fiscal year was officially reported as being $455 billion. How could the national debt have increased by considerably more than twice the “deficit”? Simple. Just call the money borrowed from the Social Security trust fund an “intragovernmental transfer” and exclude it from the calculation of the deficit.
Corporate managers have gone to jail for less book cooking than that.
More about the fictional Social Security trust fund is at Social security trust fund needed now.