What's At Stake

Posted on October 2, 2012 View More News


  • The non-partisan video, What’s at Stake? A CPA’s Insights into the Federal Government’s Finances, created by the American Institute of CPAs, offers guidance on how the data in the U.S. government’s financial statements can be used for greater understanding of the fiscal health of the country.
  • The CPA profession encourages all policy makers to use the important information that the financial statements contain to work towards setting sustainable fiscal policy for the US.
  •  Policymakers and the public should engage in a national dialogue to improve the country’s fiscal health.
  •  More information and related resources can be found at aicpa.org/WhatsAtStake.

Why US government’s financial statements are important

  •  The US government's financial statements provide a different perspective into the fiscal health of our country compared to the budget.
  •  The budget shows what is bought and paid for in a given year, while the financial statements show what the government is committed to purchasing, whether it is covered by the budget or whether it will require borrowed funds.
  •  Typically obligations or liabilities are shown on the face of financial statements. This isn’t true with Social Security and Medicare. These are footnote disclosures and are not reflected as liabilities on the face of the balance sheet.

 Providing insight into the country’s deficits

  • In fiscal year 2011, the US government had a net accumulated deficit of $14.8 trillion.
  •  This $14.8 trillion cumulative deficit plus social insurance obligations of $46.3 trillion equals a $61 trillion total deficit for the US government.
  •  The household net worth of all US citizens combined was $58.5 trillion at the end of 2011.
  •  The total obligations of the US government—$61 trillion—exceed the net worth of all of its citizens.


To view this video please click: What's At Stake

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