Needed: More Fiscal Responsibility
Special Report January 1983
Executive Summary In the current national fiscal and economic policy debates, certain facts tend to get blotted out by the windstorms of political rhetoric:
- The Federal debt now exceeds $1.3 trillion.
- The Federal budget deficit, however pleasured currently exceeds $110 billion and may grow even larger.
- Since 1970, Federal spending has more than tripled to a total of $728 billion in fiscal year 1982 and is estimated to top $760 billion in fiscal year 1983.
- If Federal spending continues to increase at the same average annual rate as it did from 1970 to 1982, expenditures could top the $1 trillion level by fiscal year 1985.
As dreary a prospect as this may seem, the problem runs even deeper. It is not just spending which is out of control. The budget system itself is seriously defective and badly in need of repair. The budget does not reveal the full scope of the government’s financial transactions. Congressional budget actions, despite recent reforms, continue to be erratic and inefficient. Oversight and audit procedures in general are ineffective, with the result that there is inadequate account-ability.