How Governments Hide Their Liabilities
In testimony to the Senate Budget Committee the other day, [Donald Marron, visiting professor with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute] recommended that Congress set specific fiscal targets for bringing our out-of-control deficits and debt under control. [His] particular suggestion? Get the publicly-held debt down to 60% of GDP in 2020. By budgeting standards, that makes for a great bumper sticker: “60 in 20“. But as the New York Times points out in two articles today, a measurable target isn’t enough. You also need to make sure that the government doesn’t game the accounting to hide its liabilities.