The Boogeyman

To free wheeling big spending politicians David Walker is the "boogeyman." To those who want ever bigger government his exposing of their dirty secrets is a nightmare.

So who is this man who has politicos shaking in their boots?

David Walker is our nations’ top accountant and auditor. As Comptroller General of the United States he runs the non-partisan Government Accountability Office and he is going on the offensive.

Walker wants taxpayers to know that the very survival of our republic is as risk due to years of government overspending — and overspending that continues unabated.

"I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan but our own fiscal irresponsibility" Walker recently told a reporter for 60 Minutes.

Walker calls our massive entitlement programs a "cancer" we can no longer afford and warns that if changes are not made America risks bankruptcy. As it is now without a change of course by the year 2040 the nation will be able to afford nothing more than to pay some entitlement benefits and the interest on the mounting debt. "It won’t have money left for anything else — national defense homeland security education you name it" he warns.

The target of Walker’s wrath is politicians who make promises we cannot afford to keep. As an example he points to the 2003 increase in Medicare benefits that adds $8 trillion to what is already $15-20 trillion in underfunding of entitlement programs. Instead of the trillions of dollars that should be set aside and invested to meet the obligations we currently have we have "zip" put away he says.

If you haven’t heard much about the serious problem Walker outlines it should not come as a surprise. It is not in the best interests of elected leaders to have this problem discussed publicly. They are focused on the next election and finding ways to ingratiate themselves with the largest number of voters. What better way to guarantee reelection than to provide a new or increased government benefit along with the false assurance that the costs are negligible or at least manageable?

These politicians are proponents of a system that Proposition 13 author Howard Jarvis described as the "Tax tax tax; spend spend spend; elect elect elect" cycle.

Now some might argue that the American people elect these "Bozos" and are therefore getting what they deserve. However while voters must take ultimate responsibility Dante correctly reserved the eighth circle of Hell for corrupt politicians. Office holders who benefit from the current system and refuse to tall the truth about the impact of their self-serving spending policies certainly deserve this assignment.

While the actions of these politicians may not be illegal they are no less criminal in the moral sense because these individuals are violating a fiduciary responsibility they have to their constituents.

Those who practice law or medicine or professionally deal with those who must rely on their good faith are said to have a fiduciary responsibility because they are in a position of greater power. It is the obligation of the one in the more powerful position in the relationship to deal with the person who has less power honestly and truthfully and to avoid conflicts of interests.

The law recognizes fiduciary responsibility and those who violate a relationship of trust can be held liable for damages and depending upon the profession be subject to significant sanctions. Should politicians be held to any lesser standard? Should they be allowed to merrily continue to buy votes with our money and the money of our children and grandchildren without divulging the consequences?

To put a stop to any political dissembling or avoidance of this issue on the part of those who want to be our next president Walker plans to travel to the early primary states warning the public about our country’s dire financial condition. It will be up to voters to pressure the candidates much the way Ross Perot did 15 years ago to state their solution to this looming fiscal crisis.

If it were not such a serious matter this confrontation with politicians could prove very entertaining.

Jon Coupal is President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest taxpayer organization — which is dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and promoting taxpayers’ rights.