Here is the news…
David M. Walker, head of the Government Accountability Office, announced Friday that he would resign his position effective March 12 to head a new foundation.
Walker, who has served as comptroller general since late 1998, will be president and chief executive officer of the Peter G. Peterson foundation, which GAO said will be dedicated to “seeking and supporting sensible policy solutions to a range of sustainability and transformation challenges.”
Walker said Peterson, senior chairman of the Blackstone Group, a financial services firm headquartered in New York, and former Commerce secretary and Council on Foreign Relations chairman, asked him to head the new foundation within the last few months, and he was undecided until very recently.
Why should you care?
The nation’s top accountant has watched with growing alarm as the amount of money the country owes has skyrocketed.
“We’re underwater to the tune of $50 trillion, and that number is going up three to four trillion a year on autopilot. So we need to start getting serious soon in order to make sure that our future is better than our past,” David Walker, the head of the Government Accountability Office, told CNN in a recent interview.
As of March 1, 2007, the federal debt was $8.78 trillion — $5 trillion of which was treasury bills, bonds and other securities held by entities outside the government.
The figure Walker cites includes future payments that government entitlement programs would have to pay, including $32 trillion owed by Medicare.
Federal spending on Medicare, and also Social Security and Medicaid, will increase dramatically as the programs expand to accommodate the large baby boomer population, Walker said in testimony on January 2007 before the Senate Budget Committee. The baby boomers become eligible in 2008 for Social Security and in 2011 for Medicare.
The increase in federal spending on those programs, along with rising health care costs, and a burgeoning population with longer life expectancies, could make the debt unsustainable over the next 20 years, Walker said.
So, in an attempt to educate Americans about this “long-range problem,” Walker has embarked on a national expedition of sorts over the last year, conducting town hall meetings in 19 states on the shape of the federal deficit. He calls it a “fiscal wakeup tour.”
Hey we are proud that he brought that tour right to the UMBC campus. Those interested in getting a Fiscal Wakeup can watch the whole show right here:
But the question is — what’s next?
The head of the GAO is resigning. That means Bush may get the chance to appoint his successor for a fifteen-year term as the federal government’s chief watch dog.