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COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARNS OF "FISCAL CALAMITY"
If Americans donít sit up and
pay attention to the warning
signs of a fiscal calamity,
it wonít be the fault of David
As comptroller general of
the United States, Walker
heads up the GAO (U.S.
Office) in Washington. As
a nonpartisan appointee of
the president, Walker is responsible for a 3,200-person organization
whose role it is to support Congress in enhancing
transparency, improving government performance, and ensuring
accountability. “We do three primary types of work,” said
Walker, “oversight, insight, and foresight.”
Until the late 1960s the office was focused almost exclusively
on oversight. With the appointment of Elmer Staats as comptroller
general, the emphasis shifted to insight. Walker has
concentrated more on providing foresight so that, as he says,
“Congress can make timely judgments before things reach a
It is avoiding a potential crisis that has Walker in motion these
days, speaking around the country, appearing on 60 Minutes
and other major forums about an entitlement system run amok
and personal spending habits equally out of control.
State of Business caught up with the comptroller general at his
441 G St., NW address in Washington, D.C. He met with Robinson
Dean H. Fenwick Huss and Communications Director Gary
McKillips and discussed some of the major issues his office is
dealing with in 2007. Below are the highlights of that interview.
State of Business: From your standpoint as comptroller general, what is the number one problem facing this country today?
David Walker: Our number one issue is fiscal irresponsibility, and the number one driver of our long-range fiscal challenge is health-care costs.
We’re a great country, the only superpower on earth, but the “too big to fail” concept has been proven invalid many times. History has shown that one of the challenges associated with a republic is that once people realize you can vote for spending increases and/or tax cuts, future generations will bear responsibility for them – unless you have mechanisms to avoid excessive actions in those areas. These excessive actions, if unchecked, could literally threaten this country and were one of the elements that brought down the Roman Republic.
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