Beginning a discussion of the federal deficit
The GAO came out with a report this week about the fiscal sustainability of the federal government. See http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11201sphigh.pdf  for a summary of the report.
And the Peterson Foundation has put up some amusing ads regarding the deficit. Have you seen the guy running for office promising to spend, spend, spend and leave it for our kids to worry about? Classic. The Foundation's website is full of scary facts about the deficit: http://www.pgpf.org/Issues.aspx 
And this article is interesting http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/nov2010/pi2010115_719576.htm 
A month ago, David Walker, the Ex-Comptroller General of the GAO came to Austin. I escorted him to his two speaking engagements. His talk focused on how unsustainable our current path is. He shocked the students and UT and agitated and depressed the CPAs at a government conference. Our deficit isn't good news. He wrote a book called Come Back America which is detailed and full of solutions to the deficit problem. David has left the Peterson Foundation... but he isn't finished fighting He is the star of the documentary called IOUSA at http://www.iousathemovie.com/  You can watch the shortened version of the movie by clicking that option at the bottom right hand corner.
It is all good to know as - today - the Republicans are making a bid deal about forbidding earmarks. Any of these sites and references will tell you that will only take care of a tiny drop in the huge deficit budget. Medicaid and Social Security are our real problems. And few, if any, politicians have the guts to take those two enormous federal obligations on.