The head of the GAO, David Walker, has been writing and speaking about how American risks repeating the fate of the Roman republic. I think it’s an important insight. Just for the record, here’s an article in the FT, and here’s a transcript of a talk he gave.
Among the points he makes in the FT article:
- While short-term federal deficits are coming down, they are still too high, and
- Longer-term, the Medicare prescription drug benefit has increased Social Security and Medicare liabiities from about $20,000 billion to $50,000 billion.
Like Rome, in the US:
- There has been a decline in moral values and political civility;
- The military is overextended; and
- There is fiscal irresponsibility.
George Washington said that we should avoid “ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burdens that we ourselves ought to bear.”