With it's usual zeal — and not unlike its response to the Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." — the Bush administration continues to ignore crucial data that paints a harrowing fiscal picture of our future

Writes Nicholas Kristoff:

Laurence Kotlikoff, an economist and fiscal expert who with Scott Burns wrote the excellent and scary book "The Coming Generational Storm," calls this "fiscal child abuse."

The book says that the Treasury Department commissioned a study by two economists of the United States' long-term liabilities, for inclusion in the 2004 federal budget. The study found that the government faces a present value "fiscal gap" — the excess of expected payments over expected revenues — of $51 trillion. That's 11 times our official national debt and also greater than our total net worth, meaning that in some sense we're bankrupt.

Not surprisingly, the Bush administration took a look at the study, blanched, and declined to publish it.

Spectacular failures and a complete lack of vision remain the heights of success for this administration.


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