Forget AIG for a moment. Forget Freddie and Fannie, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers. Imagine a company much bigger. Imagine a company that at the end of this year will have spent $400 billion more than it has taken in. Worse, imagine that the company’s accounting is so bad, the $400 billion doesn’t even begin to cover the whole of this company’s liabilities.
In fact, the company deliberately chooses to use what’s known as “cash accounting” rather than the more accurate accrual accounting. Cash accounting looks at how much cash the company has on hand, regardless of future liabilities. It’s like saying if you have $75 dollars in your checking account right now, you’re $75 in the black, never mind that you’ve deferred your car payment this month, quit your job, and have a rent check due at the end of the month.
The company also practices dirty accounting tricks like “forward funding,” “advance funding,” and “delayed obligations,” deceptive tricks that hide its precipitous finances from auditors and its investors.
This company routinely borrows from its workers’ pension plan to pay off its debt. Its accountants then claim that because the company owes the borrowed money to its own pensioners and not to outside creditors, the resulting hole in the pension plan doesn’t really count as a liability. Sometimes, the company’s executives neglect to pass a budget at all. When that happens, they keep the company running with “emergency expenditures,” which its accountants don’t consider real expenditures for records-keeping purposes, even though they’re paid with real money.
Where in the Constitution does it say that the Federal Government has the responsibility/right to use taxpayer money to bail out private enterprise?