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Financial Report of the United States, 2008

Published December 17, 2008

The Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget published the fiscal year 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government on December 17, 2008. The report "details the U.S. government's current financial position, as well as its short-term and long-term financial outlook, complementing the President's Budget to be released in the spring of 2009."

The press release states,

"Revenue results in this year’s Financial Report were $2.7 trillion, increasing slightly by $34 billion or just over 1 percent, compared to last year. Total costs were $3.6 trillion, an increase of $.7 trillion or 25 percent compared to last year. Net operating cost increased to $1 trillion, up from last year’s net operating cost of $275.5 billion. The growth in the net operating cost resulted from the economic slowdown, the government’s response to the slowdown, and significant re-estimates of the government’s long-term liabilities for veterans’ disability compensation benefits.

Treasury projected an estimated present value of future social insurance program expenditures for all current and future program participants to be $43 trillion. Over the next two decades, Social Security and Medicare expenditures are projected to increase from their current 8 percent of GDP to about 11 percent. Without reform, the cost of these programs is projected to approach 18 percent of GDP by 2080. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security accounted for 16 percent of total government expenditures 40 years ago. Today, they comprise 40 percent of all expenditures.

The report also discusses the steps the federal government has taken to restore stability to the U.S. financial system. Although recently passed housing and economic stabilization laws authorize the government to spend money in the recovery effort, the majority of those funds have yet to actually be spent and, as a result, are not and would not be reported in the government’s consolidated financial statements. Amounts spent under the stabilization initiative have been and are expected to be treated as investments or loans, as the government may recover, and possibly even earn a positive return on amounts invested as economic conditions improve."

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