The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 March 2004

Generally appalling accounting practices

Call it the Feds' Annual Report: it's the Fiscal Year 2003 U.S. Government Financial Statements [requires Adobe Reader], published under the auspices of the General Accounting Office, and of its 33 pages, ten of them (22 through 31 inclusive) are devoted to explaining why these numbers really don't mean anything.

This paragraph, at the beginning of Appendix III ("Material Deficiencies"), is instructive:

The federal government did not maintain adequate systems or have sufficient, reliable evidence to support information reported in the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government, as described below. These material deficiencies contributed to our disclaimer of opinion on the consolidated financial statements and also constitute material weaknesses in internal control.

These days, not even the cynics can keep up.

Posted at 10:25 AM to Political Science Fiction

Weren't computers going to help manage such information? And now we're supposed to trust government with electronic voting?

What's sad is we have two candidates for President who will seriously debate these "numbers" for the next eight months. Since the GAO admits their numbers are "questionable", so goes the campaign rhetoric on government spending.

Posted by: Mike at 12:31 PM on 4 March 2004

Sure, but just try counting on the government's poor accounting practices to get away with not paying taxes.

Although, from some of the MOONBAT-L e-mail I sometimes get, it may be that the ones they do catch are the ones figuratively renting giant billboards across from IRS headquarters saying "CATCH ME!"

Posted by: McGehee at 1:14 PM on 4 March 2004