Buried in GAO financial statements released on the Friday before Christmas was this information (H/T Guy Spier):
In fiscal 2011, the cost of [Social Security and Medicare] promises grew from $30.9 trillion to $33.8 trillion. To put that in context, consider that the total value of companies traded on U.S. stock markets is $13.1 trillion, based on the Wilshire 5000 index, and the value of the equity in U.S. taxpayers’ homes, according to Freddie Mac, is $6.2 trillion. Said another way, there is not enough wealth in America to meet those promises.
So, accrued transfer payments are almost double the combined value of almost every public company in the US plus all residential home equity. Whew.
Unless the US has a record-setting burst in productivity, if we attempt to pay those accruals, we will be Greece. We are closer to the end than we know.