USA Today: Deficit Calculations Off By Trillions

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New analysis by USA Today shows the federal deficit is much higher than reported.

The popular paper discovered Congress doesn't include the cost of retirement programs as part of its overall accounting. State and local governments, along with businesses, are required to include these factors.

If the federal government figured its spending the way everyone else does, last year's federal deficit would have been $5 trillion, much more than the official figure of $1.3 trillion that was released.

The government also said it ran up deficits over $5.5 trillion from 2004 to 2011. Yet, USA Today found the real deficits over that time period to be more than $30 trillion.

Researchers also said the typical American household would have paid nearly all of its income in taxes last year to balance the budget if the government used standard accounting rules to compute the deficit.

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