(Crossposted at Doom Network)
What if the United States was a corporation? What would the financial statements look like? Mary Meeker and other contributors decided to ask that question when they published a report called “USA Inc.” in February 2011. In the report, they generate income statements, balance sheets, net worth graphs, and “corporate” debt data for USA Inc. The report also goes into great depth about entitlement spending programs including unemployment, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This is what they had to say:
Imagine for a moment that the United States government is a public corporation. Imagine that its management structure, fiscal performance, and budget are all up for review. Now imagine that you’re a shareholder in USA Inc. How do you feel about your investment?
Because 45% of us own shares in publicly traded companies, nearly half the country expects quarterly updates on our investments. But although 100% of us are stakeholders in the United States, very few of us look closely at Washington’s financials. If we were long-term investors, how would we evaluate the federal government’s business model, strategic plans, and operating efficiency? How would we react to its earnings reports? Nearly two-thirds of all American households pay federal income taxes, but very few of us take the time to dig into the numbers of the entity that, on average, collects 13% of our annual gross income (not counting another 15- 30% for payroll and various state and local taxes).
The entire 266 page PDF file can be downloaded from their site here. I highly suggest you read it when you’ve got some spare time. The report has tons of fantastic graphs and data. A selection of them are posted below:
After reading through the entire report, I’ve been left with a sinking feeling in my gut. It truly is a tragedy to see what has become of the nation’s finances. It’s even more depressing when one realizes the futility of the matter. What can we as citizens possibly do to change things beside sit back and watch the tragedy unfold? To many Americans, the “government” is an unchangeable, all-powerful, monolithic entity. Personally, my family has concluded the only logical thing for us to do is to expatriate and watch the train wreck from a distance.