U.S. Taxpayers' bill leaps by Trillions

The federal government's long-term financial obligations grew by $2.5 trillion last year, a reflection of the mushrooming cost of Medicare and Social Security benefits as more baby boomers reach retirement.

Taxpayers are on the hook for a record $57.3 trillion in federal liabilities to cover the lifetime benefits of everyone eligible for Medicare, Social Security and other government programs, a USA TODAY analysis found. That's nearly $500,000 per household.

When obligations of state and local governments are added, the total rises to $61.7 trillion, or $531,472 per household.

"We're running deficits in the trillions of dollars, not the hundreds of billions of dollars we're being told," says Sheila Weinberg, chief executive of the Institute for Truth in Accounting of Chicago.

[Excerpt of an article by Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY]

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