Budget deficit is $422 billion - or $571 billion counting borrowing from social security
Why do we keep hearing the number $422 billion? I am not picking on just the Bush administration here: the democrats tend to not be transparent on budget issues either. It is a common belief among law professors and economists that if corporations divulged their finances like the federal government did, that there would be a lot more people in jail.
What is wrong with more transparency? Obviously the politicians would not like it, but think about how much better our government would be if:
Outlaw voice votes in Congress - this is a way to hide voting records from constituants.
By law, force Congress to publish clearly on a web site all voting records and have appropriate selection filters so that people could quickly see how their representatives voted. Correlate voting wih data on campaign contributions.
Require people in government to sign off on finance data and make it a crime to lie about it.
Polititions are very well paid and have great benefits - I don't think that I am asking for too much with my suggestions. We pay enough - we deserve transparency - I may be too optimistic here, but I think that if enough people complain to their elected representatives that they might go along with my suggestions if they think that they will not get re-elected if the do not suport transparency in our government.
And by-the-way: arguments about "deficits do not matter" are so much bullshit. Sure, if you are old, have no kids or grandchildren, and basically do not care about the society you leave behind: then deficits do not matter. I find it kind of scary that people will even promote the idea that "deficits do not matter": really out of touch with reality and common sense. We will see a crash in our economy in the next few years no matter who wins the next election; it might not be a "fun" or popular idea, but I think that we should try to make recovering from the next economic crash as soft as possible: for example; try to keep the deficit down!