When it comes to financial magic, the government of the United States takes the prize. Sleights of hand and clever distractions by purveyors of line-of-credit mortgages, living-benefit variable annuities and equity-indexed life insurance are clumsy parlor tricks compared with the Big Magic of American politicians.
Consider the proud trumpeting that came from Washington at the close of fiscal 2007. The deficit for the unified budget was, politicians crowed, down to a mere $162.8 billion.
In fact, our government is overspending at a far greater rate. The total federal debt actually increased by $497.1 billion over the same period.
Social Security and Medicare are problems NOW, not sometime in the future.