• A bill introduced in the last session of Congress would have required that every American taxpayer receive an “annual report” from the federal government summarizing the “financial health” of the government. The “American Citizens Annual Report Act (H.R.11) noted that “publicly owned corporations provide shareholders with an annual report on the financial status of the corporation,” and that “Americans are entitled to an annual report on the financial status of the federal government.” The bill further noted: “The actual financial performance of the federal government often differs from the budget by tens, even hundreds, of billions of dollars. For example, the fiscal year 1991 budget was to result in a deficit of $63 billion. Instead, the actual deficit for the year was $268 billion.” This condition “jeopardizes democracy” and creates a debt “that affects the present and future generations of Americans.” The bill called for an annual report to be distributed with federal tax returns. The report would have presented 5-year trends in federal revenues, expenditures, and debt, and would have compared actual revenues and expenditures with budgeted revenues and expenditures. The sponsors of this bill hoped that it would have drawn attention to the national debt, and our annual budgetary deficits, and thereby would have “increased the participation and awareness of the public in finding solutions to the federal government’s budget problems.” The bill undoubtedly will be reintroduced in the next legislative session.
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