Real accounting? Nah.
Well, looky here…Something called the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board is recommending the U.S. government abandon its phony-baloney cost-based method of accounting (the kind that if practiced in the private sector would result in fines and jail time) and adopt accrual accounting instead.
None of the coverage I've seen yet says how this would affect the widely-reported budget deficit numbers, but as it happens the Treasury Department already publishes accrual-accounting budget figures, which say the deficit last year was actually $760 billion — more than double the bogus number most people read in the paper, $319 billion.
The change, if it came about, would be unprecedented. The Financial Times says no government in the world keeps its books this way, the honest way. No wonder some bureaucrat from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says this change "could confuse the public." Can't have that now, can we?
Of course, every indication is that Team Bush will try to strangle this proposal in its crib. And their reasoning is most revealing, says the FT:
George W. Bush’s administration is firmly opposed to the proposal, which officials believe wrongly implies that the government is contractually obliged to make future payments based on current benefit rules.
Seems to me Team Bush is admitting right here that the government doesn't have a prayer of meeting its Social Security and Medicare commitments. Of course, you and I already knew that, but now we have confirmation right from the source.