How Much Does the Federal Government Owe?

The U.S. government faces severe fiscal challenges due to trillion dollar annual budget deficits and mounting public debt. But the liabilities are much larger than the public debt, due to commitments the government has made to federal employees, to veterans and to seniors. In addition, it has made explicit and implicit commitments to current workers and retirees through the Social Security and Medicare programs.

How Large Is the Federal Government's Debt?

Social Security and Medicare have made future promises far in excess of tax revenues that will be collected at current tax rates. The difference between what has been promised to current and future generations and what will be collected from taxes dedicated to fund these programs is an "unfunded liability."

Public Spending And Social Progress

Over the past century, government spending grew to an average of 45 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) among developed countries. Today, total government spending in the United States and other developed countries far exceeds the level at which it increases national income. This study examines the effects of government spending on certain noneconomic measures of social progress.

Putting Drivers in the Driver's Seat

Auto Choice, a proposed structural reform of the country's fraud-ridden $150 billion per year auto tort system, is quietly gaining broad bipartisan endorsement. Its supporters already include Democratic Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas).

10 Guidelines for Insuring Children

The 1997 budget agreement includes a provision giving the states $24 billion over five years to provide health insurance to uninsured children from low-income families – basically those in families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level, not eligible for Medicaid, not enrolled in a health plan or covered by health insurance.

One Last Chance For KidCare

As part of the recent budget agreement, President Clinton and Congressional leaders agreed to spend $16 billion over the next five years on health insurance for children. Now the question facing Congress is: What's the best way to spend the money?