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Opinion

Intentionally deceptive bookkeeping hides deficit

deceptive bookkeeping While Clinton and the Congress fight over credit for the lower deficit just reported, it's time for some honesty. There is a heinous deception underway today, and it involves the national debt and the annual deficit.
   While common sense suggests that if you add up the annual deficits in history, you get the national debt, that is not the case. The plain fact is that in fiscal year 1996 just ended Oct. 1, the "debt" grew an incredible $313 billion dollars, according to the Treasury Department. The government has claimed--incredibly--that the deficit has shrunk for the fourth year in a row to just $107 billion dollars.
   The truth is that "our" government is lying to America. Through intentionally deceptive bookkeeping, an all-time record $206 billion dollars of deficit was hidden this year.
   Since 1980, when the growth of the debt roughly equaled the deficit, our government has borrowed $1.5 trillion dollars from itself. Every dime of federal trust funds, including Social Security and Medicare, has been borrowed and spent, and the deficit does not include the interest paid on that debt. They've borrowed surpluses from individual federal agency accounts and even allowed them to borrow off-budget on their own, further increasing the debt while not increasing the deficit.
   The simple fact is that if the Balanced Budget Amendment was in place today and they had reduced the $107 billion deficit to $0, the debt would still have grown $206 billion dollars this year. Is that a balanced budget?

Michael Costello, Redmond