Institute for Truth in Accounting

The Institute for Truth in Accounting was created in 2002 by distinguished financial and public policy experts concerned with the quality of public and private organizations' financial reporting. It is the mission of the IFTA to encourage private and public entities to produce financial reports that are comprehensive, comprehensible and transparent and to inform the public of the importance of truthful accounting.

The IFTA actively seeks association with other public interest groups that recognize the need to improve financial reporting or want to better understand the financial effects of current accounting practices. The Institute is a non-profit, public interest group that does not advocate public policy beyond better, and thereby, more truthful, accounting.

Sponsored by the IFTA, this site was live approximately till 2010. To see what the Institute for Truth in Accounting is now doing go to their new site (

Sometime after 2010 this site's domain was left to expire.

Recently I discovered that the domain was available, so I bought it with the goal of recreating as much of its original content as possible from archived pages. I did not want someone else to purchase the domain and re-purpose the site for something that had nothing in common with the original website.I believe that the information on the archived pages is still important and should be available online.

I am interested in the IFTA website since I happen to work as part of a team that does customized software development service for companies in industries such as finance and medicine that require higher-than-usual security and privacy concerns. The progressive software company I'm an employee for supports every aspect of customized software development cycle, starting from important feasibility analysis, to even more important user experience design, to prototyping and the development of scalable solutions. Some businesses think custom software development is going to be the magic pill that solves all their operational issues. But that myth isn’t always realized. And in some cases custom software development is not necessary. We always do an analysis of the issues before advising a potential client if they would benefit from custom software development. It's challenging work that is particularly rewarding. SO when I see a site such as the new IFTA website I always look at how it's developers handle any customized software development. That's my wonk brain at work!

Now for a trip back to 2010......



What Can You Do?

We're working to bring the financial truth to the 2010 elections, and we need your help! Sign up today for e-letter updates and more information.


That's why we need your help.  With Truth in 2010, we aim to bring the truth back into the national debate—and to stop our politicians from sweeping this issue under the rug. 

Learn more about our nation's financial mess—and how it will impact you.

Truth in 2010 is sponsored by the Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA), an organization dedicated to promoting honest, accurate, and transparent accounting at all levels of government.   As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the IFTA works to expose accounting deficiencies while promoting better, more accessible delivery of accurate government financial data—and, in turn, providing a foundation for more informed public policy.

Our nation faces profound financial challenges that will require bold leadership, citizen engagement, and tough decisions. Without accurate financial information, none of these is possible.  The IFTA provides its expertise to develop more effective accounting standards and deliver accurate government financial information to policymakers, opinion leaders, and citizens so that they can work for a more secure financial future.

Where does your state government or U.S. representative candidate stand? Here are two key questions to ask: 

  • What are you going to do about unfunded liabilities like pensions? 
  • What are you going to do about the more than $74 trillion dollar debt that has already been accumulated?
  • With what money will you use to pay for the programs you're proposing? 


Transparent Opacity


VP Joe Biden holds a closed meeting on...wait for it...govenmental transparency.


China Disdains 'Planned Ecomomies'

Chinese economic officials are concerned with the U.S.'s planned 'quantitative easing'. As owners of more than a trillion in treasury and other assets, they will lose if the dollar declines. Look for a brouhaha at the coming G20 meeeting.

Debt Ceiling Battle Looming?

The Congress has never failed to lift the debt ceiling which has more then doubled since 2002 to a whopping $14.3 trillion limit. If they raise the debt limit every time things get tight, what's the point of having a limit?

The Market Begins Repricing Government Risk

The bond market is beginning to demand higher yields for sovereign risk. While yields are historically low, is the injection of QE2 reserves having the opposite of the desired effect?

Tin Eared Legislator Seeks Bigger Paycheck

A term-limited state senator runs for the California Assembly and decides that a pay decrease isn't right. He filed with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. When our leaders feel this entitled, how can we make any progress?

Europe as the Preview of US Debt Troubles

The situation in Europe may well predict what will happen in the U.S. This author believes that the public sector's managers are just as greedy as the worst private sector actors. His prescription is to insist on more honest accounting and disclosure.




"The federal government keeps two sets of books…the set the government doesn't talk about reports a more ominous financial picture." 
--Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

We've all heard about the federal debt. But most of us haven't heard the truth.

Politicians will tell you that the federal debt is around $11 trillion.

That sounds bad enough—but it gets even worse. Together with unfunded liabilities (all of the benefits that the government has promised to seniors, Baby Boomers, and other citizens) our nation is in the hole for nearly $62 trillion dollars.

That's more than $200,000 for every man, woman, and child in America, and it's growing every day.

"We have been diagnosed with fiscal cancer," says David Walker, the retired chief auditor of the United States government. "It seems clear that our nation's current fiscal path is unsustainable."

As the people who pay the bills, it's time to demand more of our political leaders—and to demand real solutions to an issue that could soon lead to a crisis. That's what Truth in 2010 is all about. Join us today.


Why Does Our National Debt Matter?

Nonpartisan financial experts tell us that our nation faces a unique set of pressures (to spend increasing amounts on health care, to sustain retirees' benefits with fewer active workers, and to fund the growing amount of interest on the national debt) that could culminate in a massive economic crisis. 

Bob Bixby, the head of the Concord Coalition, points out that no one can predict when this crisis will erupt—or if it will unfold as "a long, slow erosion in the standard of living." To each of us, that would mean less choices in life, less freedom, and less of the things we take for granted each day.

With its shaky financial position and dozens of unfunded promises, the United States also faces threats to national security. With its financial assets in quicksand, the US would be less able to compete on an international level and less able to counter threats from competitors abroad. As our nation slips deeper and deeper into debt, it loses its flexibility, its power, and even its ability to operate on a very basic level.

The bottom line: the national debt matters because we, the people, are the ones who pay the bills. We are the ones who will be impacted by a financial crisis. That's why it is crucial to spread the Truth in 2010,


More Facts


  • It took the country from George Washington until Ronald Reagan—approximately 200 years—to reach the first $1 trillion in debt.
  • When politicians talk about reducing the deficit, they are not talking about the debt. Politicians driven by short-term election goals focus on short-term problems. For example, President Bush once told us the problem was shrinking, pointing to  the  annual federal budget deficit, which fell from a high of $413 billion in fiscal 2004 to about $163 billion in fiscal 2007. The debt, meanwhile, continues to skyrocket.
  • All of the taxes you pay, including Social Security, are used for today's government services and benefits, not saved for the future.
  • According to the government's Office of Management and Budget, "there are no economic assets in the Social Security trust fund."
  • According to the Government Accountability Office, if spending on government retirement programs remains on its current course and revenues grow at their historical averages, interest on the debt could skyrocket from its current 9 percent to almost 30 percent of the budget by 2040.
  • Fed Chairman Ben Bernake has stated that the time to solve this problem was "ten years ago." Meanwhile, Congressional Quarterlyreports that a delay of even 10 years in solving this will double the required pain to solve it.
  • We are now considering making the nation's fiscal problems much worse by expanding entitlements and bail-outs.  Fiscal 2009 will add more than a trillion dollars to the federal debt via deficit spending and as much as another five trillion in unfunded liabilities.


Where Do Our Candidates Stand?

As the field for 2010 and 2012 races begin to form, taxpayers and concerned Americans should be asking what these hopefuls intend to do about the fiscal hole we're in and which we are digging deeper.  Join with Truth in 2010 and make the candidates answer.





True Debt Unknown?

Widely varying estimates of the total US debt and obligations agree on one thing: it's more--a lot more--than the $13.4 trillion the federal government reports.

US Government 'hiding true amount of debt'

  • By Gregory Bresiger
  • From: NewsCore
  • September 20, 2010 9:09AM

THE actual figure of the US' national debt is much higher than the official sum of $US13.4 trillion ($14.3 trillion) given by theCongressional Budget Office, according to analysts cited on Sunday by the New York Post.

"The Government is lying about the amount of debt. It is engaging in Enron accounting," said Laurence Kotlikoff, an economist at Boston University and co-author of The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need to Know about America's Economic Future.

"The problem is we're seeing an explosion in spending," added Andrew Moylan, director of government affairs for the National Taxpayers Union.

In 1980, the debt - the accumulated red ink incurred by the Federal Government - was $US909 billion. 
This represented some 33 per cent of gross domestic product, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Thirty years later, based on this year's second-quarter numbers, the CBO said the debt was $US13.4 trillion, or 92 per cent of GDP.

The CBO estimates the debt will be at $US16.5 trillion in two years, or 100.6 per cent of GDP.

But these numbers are incomplete. 

They do not count off-budget obligations such as required spending forSocial Security and Medicare, whose programs represent a balloon payment for the Government as more Americans retire and collect benefits.

In the case of Social Security, beginning in 2016, the US Government will be paying out more than it is collecting in taxes. 

Without basic measures - such as payment cuts or higher payroll taxes - the system could be on the road to bankruptcy, according to officials.

"Without changes," wrote Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, "by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted. There will be enough money only to pay about $US0.76 for each dollar of benefits."

Mr Kotlikoff and Mr Moylan agree US national debt is much more than the official $US13.4 trillion number, but they disagree over how to add up the exact number.

Mr Kotlikoff says the debt is actually US $200 trillion. Mr Moylan says the number is likely about trillion.

That is close to the figure quoted by David Walker, the US Comptroller General from 1998 to 2008. 
He launched a campaign to convince Americans that the federal spending and debt is a greater threat than terrorism.

But whichever figure is accurate, all three agree that the problem has worsened in the last few years.  They say it is because Congress and the Administration, whether Republican or Democrat, consistently overspend.


Watch Weinberg on Fox Chicago Sunday

Sunday, August 29, at 8:30 a.m. Truth in Accounting Founder & CEO, Sheila Weinberg, will appear on Fox Chicago Sunday.

Weinberg and host Mike Flannery and Dane Placko will discuss the Illinois financial condition.  The Institute recently issued Illinois' Financial State of the State, which revealed that the state needs more than $120 billion to pay its bills.  Each taxpayer's share of the shortfall is $29,200.


Social Security & Medicare Trustees' Report FINALLY Out

Social Security & Medicare Trustees' Report FINALLY Out
Better late than never!
This Congress has become a criminal enterprise.
Posted by wayne on 9/19/2010 8:09:57 AM

America must change We, the America people, have a very serious problem in our economy and our nation. We’re going to have to change our attitudes and face some hard realities. Number one: We are the people (each of us) responsible for our country!!!!! Number two: We in the United States have turned loose our congress, presidency, and bureaucracy with our credit card. We have got to take that credit card back or we will never right our economy or our nation. Number three!! Government is not God; it only thinks it is God. Government is a tool a people of a nation use to do those activities that we can do more efficiently and effectively, collectively then we can do individually. Four: Bankruptcy is on its way!!!! Five: We have no leadership in America today. We have a President that is a narcissist nitwit and a congress that is brought and paid for by vested interests. We have got to change our Constitution in a way that power is taken away from Government and makes the America people responsible.

1. Taxes must be taken off of everything except final consumption. When a family goes to the grocery store and buys $100 in groceries and the checker add $35.00 for federal tax, $10.00 for state tax and $5.00 for local taxes, the crap will come out of the heads of the America people about the cost of Government. Also, no person or item is exempted, everyone pays. Americans will be ready to fight back with gusto!!!! 2. Take away the power of Congress to pass legislation. All legislation (bills) must come before the people to be approved or disapproved. We have the communications capacity via the internet, etc. to do this. Furthermore, all bills must be broken down by item and a cost must be accessed to each item. We need line item voting power.

3. Any person or group, who can obtain 3% of the registered voter’s signatures, can design and/or present a bill (legislation) to congress. . Congress must debate, approve or disapprove legislation; however, again the people must approve or disapprove the legislation.

4. We need an accounting system that is as accurate as possible, so Americans know where their tax money is going and can make decisions. With these new Constitutional tools, there will be 300 million Americans who will decide what they want to spend their tax dollars on. Our government would be changed forever. If we revolt against our present form of government we must understand revolutions are brutal. Paul Artz North Logan
Posted by IDK & Me on 9/19/2010 8:24:09 PM


Archived News from 2006-2010


This is just a very brief accounting of the type of articles from the October and November in 2010 which were posted in the NEWS section of the website.

< style="line-height: 1.6;">America is facing a financial time bomb, and the clock is winding down.  Truth in 2010 is dedicated to spreading the word, and in the process, we're collecting the latest news on our troubling financial situation.  Have an article or study we haven't seen?  Send it our way at

Transparent Opacity
VP Joe Biden holds a closed meeting on...wait for it...govenmental transparency.

China Disdains 'Planned Ecomomies'
Chinese economic officials are concerned with the U.S.'s planned 'quantitative easing'. As owners of more than a trillion in treasury and other assets, they will lose if the dollar declines. Look for a brouhaha at the coming G20 meeeting.

Debt Ceiling Battle Looming?
The Congress has never failed to lift the debt ceiling which has more then doubled since 2002 to a whopping $14.3 trillion limit. If they raise the debt limit every time things get tight, what's the point of having a limit?

What You Can Do About The States' Fiscal Problems
Here are some questions you should ask your state legislators. From our friends at The Franklin Center.

Some Views on 'Qualitative Easing'
> 'QEII', a new injection of at least $800 billion to purchase government debt sure looks like currency debasement to us. Here are some interesting views on the plan.

Freddie Needs Money
While everyone is watching the elections, Freddie Mac needs $4.1 billion more in federal cash to maintain 'positive net worth'.

Chinese Foreign Trade Growing Quickly
The Chinese economy keeps growing at a fast clip if their estimates of this year's foreign trade are accurate. As they become less dependent on the U.S. as a trading partner, what will become of their appetitie for our debt?

Illinois Lowers Pension Earnings Expectations
But did they lower it enough?

Another Threat To The Recovery
Faulty paperwork is keeping the real estate market from stabilizing. One wonders if the banks can't keep the paperwork straight, if they we competent to make the loans in the first place. Like other federal bailees, we don't have an accounting.

The Result Of Too Much Debt
The problem of too much debt is that it crowds out productive investment. Here's another example of our future being foreclosed by our overwhelming debt.

What's Next For French Pensions?

France is moving to raise their retirement age to 62 from 60 touching off riots. It's the equivalent of our raising the social security so it's interesting to see what will happen on the streets of Paris.

Citi and FOIAs
During the financial meltdown, the U.S. Treasury guaranteed more than $300 billion in securities owned by Citigroup. The Treasury is refusing to account for how the money-or taxpayers' guarantee-was applied.

Big Payments to Private Sector Pension Plans
In complete contrast to the public sector, private companies are making big payments to fund their future pension obligations.

San Francisco Pension Fight
San Francisco is becoming ground zero in the public pension fund question. It's little wonder--pension costs have risen to $400 million per year from just $175 million five years ago.