GAO report on the US fiscal situation


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An April, 2010 report from the GAO on the impending fiscal crisis facing the United States.

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GAO report on the US fiscal situation

  1. 1. Oversight and Accountability in a Time of Fiscal Stress Association of Government Accountants Dallas, Texas April 23, 2010 Gene L. Dodaro Acting Comptroller General GAO-10-653CG
  2. 2. • Long-Term Fiscal Challenges • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation • Emergency Economic Stabilization Act Experience • Examples of the Need for Transformation GAO-10-653CG 2
  3. 3. Long-Term Fiscal Challenges GAO-10-653CG
  4. 4. Debt Held by the Public Under Two Fiscal Policy Simulations Percent of GDP 200 Baseline Alternative Extended 150 Historical High 100 109 percent in 1946 50 0 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Fiscal year Source: GAO. Note: Data are from GAO’s January 2010 analysis based on the Trustees’ assumptions for Social Security and Medicare. Some of the increase in debt has been used to purchase financial assets as part of programs to stabilize financial markets and stimulate the economy. The value of these financial assets has not been subtracted from the total debt held by public in our simulations. GAO-10-653CG 4
  5. 5. Potential Fiscal Outcomes Under GAO’s Alternative Simulation: Revenues and Composition of Spending as Shares of GDP Percent of GDP 50 40 30 Revenue 20 10 0 2010 2020 2030 2040 Fiscal year Net interest Social Security Medicare and Medicaid All other spending Source: GAO. Note: Data are from GAO’s January 2010 analysis based on the Trustees’ assumptions for Social Security and Medicare. . 5 GAO-10-653CG
  6. 6. Pressures on the Federal Budget in the Near Term 2008 Oldest members of the baby-boom generation became eligible for early Social Security retirement benefits 2008 Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) outlays exceeded cash income 2010 Social Security runs first cash deficit since 1984a 2011 Oldest members of the baby-boom generation become eligible for Medicare 2014 45 percent of Medicare outlays funded by general revenueb 2016 Social Security begins running consistent annual cash deficits 2017 Medicare HI trust fund exhausted. Income sufficient to pay about 81 percent of benefitsb 2020 Debt held by the public under GAO’s Alternative simulation exceeds the historical high reached in the aftermath of World War II Source: GAO analysis. Notes: a Based on CBO’s January 2010 baseline projections. b Based on 2009 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds (May 12, 2009). GAO-10-653CG 6
  7. 7. Federal and Combined Federal, State, and Local Deficits as Shares of GDP Percent of GDP 5 Surplus 0 -5 Deficit -10 -15 -20 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Federal only Fiscal Federal, state, and local year Source: GAO. Note: federal data are from GAO’s Alternative simulation. GAO-10-653CG 7
  8. 8. Not Just a U.S. Challenge • Financial market stress in other major industrial nations • Public debt levels in other major industrial countries have also increased dramatically. • Projections show many countries on a path of rising debt to GDP ratios. GAO-10-653CG 8
  9. 9. Moving Forward • Budget Controls • Creation of Commission • Continued Public Education, Discussion, and Debate GAO-10-653CG 9
  10. 10. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation GAO-10-653CG
  11. 11. American Recovery & Reinvestment Act • Signed February 17, 2009 • Purpose: • Preserve/create jobs and promote recovery • Assist those most hurt by the recession • Invest in infrastructure • Stabilize state and local government budgets • Total cost (tax and spending): $862 billion, including over $626 billion in additional spending (CBO Estimate) GAO-10-653CG 11
  12. 12. Projected Versus Actual Federal Outlays to States and Localities Under the Recovery Act 120 Outlays in billions of dollars 100 Estimated 80 $103.8 Billion in Actual Federal Outlays, as of March 31, 2010 60 40 20 0 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 F i scal year Source: GAO analysis of data from CBO, and Federal Funds Information for States. GAO-10-653CG 12
  13. 13. GAO’s Monitoring of Selected States 1. Arizona 2. California 3. Colorado 4. Florida 5. Georgia 6. Illinois 7. Iowa 8. Massachusetts 9. Michigan 10. Mississippi 11. New Jersey 12. New York 13. North Carolina 14. Ohio 15. Pennsylvania 16. Texas 17. Washington, D.C. GAO-10-653CG 13
  14. 14. Recovery Act: GAO’s Reporting Objectives GAO’s reports on states and localities focus on: • Use of funds • Safeguards and internal controls • The impact of funds GAO also comments on jobs created and retained as reported by recipients. GAO-10-653CG 14
  15. 15. Recovery Act Challenges for Officials at All Levels of Government • Expectations for transparency and accountability • Qualified personnel need to implement proper accountability • Close and ongoing coordination needed GAO-10-653CG 15
  16. 16. GAO Recommendations • GAO has made 28 recommendations to 5 federal agencies (DOT, HUD, Education, DOL, and OMB) regarding: • Accountability and Transparency • Reporting on Impact and Guidance • Resource Allocation and Capacity GAO-10-653CG 16
  17. 17. Single Audit: GAO Recommendations Leverage Single Audit as an effective oversight tool Move to earlier reporting on internal controls Focus on Recovery Act programs Give relief for low-risk programs Fund more timely, effective Single Audits GAO-10-653CG 17
  18. 18. Single Audits: GAO Matter for Congressional Consideration • amending the Single Audit Act or enact new legislation that provides for more timely internal control reporting, as well as audit coverage for smaller Recovery Act programs with high risk. • create mechanisms to provide additional resources to support those charged with carrying out the Single Audit and related audits. GAO-10-653CG 18
  19. 19. OMB Single Audit Pilot Project: Interim Internal Control Reporting • Single Audit Internal Control Project • Encourage auditors top identify and communicate significant deficiencies and material weaknesses for selected Recovery Act programs 3 months earlier than current 9-month timeframe • 16 states volunteered to participate • Coverage • About 16 percent of Recovery Act obligations • About 23 percent of Recovery Act outlays GAO-10-653CG 19
  21. 21. Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) • Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 created $700 billion TARP in October 2008 • GAO given statutory oversight role • GAO’s TARP reports’ recommendations follow 3 themes: • Monitoring the use of funds to meet the Act’s objectives • Articulating a better communication strategy • Ensuring effective Treasury management GAO-10-653CG 21
  22. 22. Status of Troubled Asset Relief Program Outstanding Balances •As of April 9, 2010, Treasury had disbursed about $381 billion of the almost $700 billion in program funds, and had received repayments of about $181 billion. •A total of about $198 billion remains outstanding (see table below). Status of TARP Funds as of April 9, 2010 (dollars in billions) Program Gross Outstanding Balance Capital Purchase Program $66.7 * AIG 47.5 Targeted Investment Program 0.0 Consumer & Business Lending Initiative: Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility & Small Business and Community Lending Initiative 0.1 Automotive Industry Financing Program 75.1 Public-Private Investment Program 8.2 Totals $197.6 * Amount outstanding for CPP excludes about $2.3 billion which Treasury has written off. GAO-10-653CG 22 22
  23. 23. Status of U.S. Government Ownership of Selected Companies U.S. Government Ownership (Common Equity) Percentages AIG 79.8% GM 60.8% 56.0% U.S. Government GMAC Ownership (Common Equity) Percentages Citigroup 27.1% Chrysler 9.9% 0.0% 20.0% 40.0% 60.0% 80.0% AIG, GM, and Chrysler – As of Sept. 30, 2009; GMAC and Citigroup – As of Dec. 31, 2009. All percentages relate to TARP, except for AIG which relates to the U.S. Government’s beneficial interest in a trust. Also, the percentages only represent common equity and do not reflect additional financial instruments held by the U.S. Government in these entities (e.g., preferred stock, warrants, and direct loans). GAO-10-653CG 23
  24. 24. GAO’s Ongoing and Future Monitoring Efforts • Capital Purchase Program, • Home Affordable Modification Program, • Automobile Industry Financing Program, • AIG, • Small Business Lending Initiatives, • Stress tests, and • Decision to Extend TARP GAO-10-653CG 24
  25. 25. Examples of Need for Transformation • Financial Regulation • Postal Service GAO-10-653CG 25
  26. 26. Modernizing The U.S. Financial Regulatory System Financial Regulation: A Framework for Crafting and Assessing Proposals to Modernize the Outdated U.S. Financial Regulatory System • Explains the origins of the current financial regulatory system • Describes market developments and changes that pose challenges to the current system • Presents an evaluation framework that Congress and others can use to craft or evaluate potential regulatory reform efforts (GAO-09-216, Jan. 8, 2009) GAO-10-653CG 26
  27. 27. Financial Regulatory System Outdated Risks posed by: • Emergence of large, complex, and interconnected financial conglomerates • Less-regulated entities are playing increasingly critical roles in the financial system • New and complex products pose challenges to system stability and consumer protection GAO-10-653CG 27
  28. 28. Crafting or Assessing Regulatory Reform Proposals: GAO Framework—9 Essential Characteristics • Clearly defined regulatory goals in statute • Appropriately comprehensive • Systemwide focus • Flexible and adaptable • Efficient and effective • Consistent consumer and investor protections • Regulators provided with independence, prominence, authority, and accountability • Consistent financial oversight • Minimal taxpayer exposure GAO-10-653CG 28
  29. 29. U.S. Postal Service Financial Viability • The Postal Service’s Actual and Projected Total Mail Volume, Fiscal Years 1971 through business model is not viable 2020 due to its inability to reduce costs sufficiently in response Billions of pieces to continuing mail volume 250 and revenue declines. 200 • Mail volume is projected to decline by about 27 billion 150 pieces over the next decade, Projected fiscal year 2020 volume: about while revenues will stagnate, 100 150 billion pieces, the lowest level since fiscal year 1986. and costs will rise. • Given its financial problems 50 and outlook, the Postal Service cannot support its 0 current level of service and 1971 Fiscal year 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 operations. Source: USPS. GAO-10-653CG 29
  30. 30. U.S. Postal Service Financial Viability • Without major changes in its operations, the Postal Service projects that annual financial losses will escalate over the next decade to $33 billion in fiscal year 2020. USPS Actual and Projected Net Income (Loss), Fiscal Years 2000 through 2020 GAO-10-653CG 30
  31. 31. U.S. Postal Service Financial Viability Action by Congress and the Postal Service urgently needed to facilitate progress: (1) more aggressive action needed to realign Postal Service operations and its workforce while increasing revenues within its current authority, using the collective bargaining process to address wages, benefits, and workforce flexibility; and (2) Congress needs to address legal restrictions and resistance to broader changes in the postal network and workforce. The longer it takes for Congress and the Postal Service to address these challenges, the more difficult they will be to overcome. GAO-10-653CG 31
  32. 32. On the Web Web site: Contact Chuck Young, Managing Director, Public Affairs (202) 512-4800 U.S. Government Accountability Office 441 G Street NW, Room 7149 Washington, D.C. 20548 Copyright This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. The published product may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further permission from GAO. However, because this work may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately. GAO-10-653CG 32