Do you want to pay for your retirement and healthcare and everything else? Become a Christian nation, and eliminate the Pentagon.
Taxpayers are on the hook for a record $57.3 trillion in federal liabilities to cover the lifetime benefits of everyone eligible for Medicare, Social Security and other government programs, a USA TODAY analysis found. That's nearly $500,000 per household.
When obligations of state and local governments are added, the total rises to $61.7 trillion, or $531,472 per household.
The $2.5 trillion in federal liabilities dwarfs the $162 billion the government officially announced as last year's deficit, down from $248 billion a year earlier.
The reason for the discrepancy: Accounting standards require corporations and state governments to count new financial obligations, even if the payments will be made later. The federal government doesn't follow that rule. Instead of counting lifetime benefits for programs such as Social Security, the government counts the cost of benefits for the current year.
Source: "Taxpayers' bill leaps by trillions," by Dennis Cauchon. USA TODAY. May 18, 2008.