Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility (Unabridged)
by David M. Walker
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He's one of America's most capable, canny, candid, and independent financial experts. Now David M. Walker sounds a call to action. Comeback America is a tough-minded, innovative, inspiring guide to help us avoid the approaching economic abyss and put the country back on track again. As comptroller general of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) - "the nation's top auditor" - Walker warned Congress and the administration as the federal surplus became a giant deficit under George W. Bush. As president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, he now works full-time to raise public awareness regarding mounting debt burdens being imposed on future generations. Comeback America is his crucial manifesto, a way for President Obama to end out-of-control government spending and reform our tax, retirement, health care, defense, and other systems - before it's too late. Walker believes that by 2030, absent significant reforms to current government programs and policies, federal taxes could double from current levels, meaning less money and poorer education for kids, which will hurt families along with our nation's economic strength and position in the world. If our foreign creditors - such as China - decide to buy fewer of our Treasury bonds, interest rates will rise and cars and homes will become less affordable. But it doesn't have to be that way. Comeback America shows how we can return to our founding principles of fiscal responsibility and stewardship for future generations. The book includes bold ideas to control spending, save Social Security, dramatically alter Medicare, and simplify the tax code - all taking into account the Obama administration's current efforts, which receive never-before-published assessments, both complimentary and critical.
The Canary Looks Like An Accountant
Anyone who saw the movie I.O.U.S.A. knows who David Walker is. For those who don’t, the author has spent the last decade or two working in high-level financial positions in the US government. He has worked successfully for both Democratic and Republican administrations. While he is apolitical, he has one trait not highly valued in government--he tends to tell the truth and back it up with facts.
The movie I.O.U.S.A. was released in 2008, before the Great Recession. At that time the movie told a sobering tale of the terrible course the United States was following in terms of its exploding debt. Fast forward two years and the situation is much worse. It is at this point that Comeback America picks up the saga.
In Comeback America, David Walker thoroughly outlines this country’s financial situation. He touches on all facets of government spending and revenue generation, helping the listener better understand the financial problems we face. He then goes through a number of ideas for getting a handle on our financial woes and bringing this country back from the abyss we are heading for. None of these ideas are painless, but they are all necessary.
Throughout the book Walker tries to be an optimist. He continues to emphasize that we can avoid ruin if people take action to get our politicians to do the right thing. But when Walker starts talking about the need to change the Constitution to solve our problems, I know that his optimism is unfounded.
Walker is the canary in the mine, but the canary is wheezing pretty badly and I fear will soon be belly-up as our financial mismanagement drags our country down to the banana republic level.