US Government Releases 2015 Financial Statements: "Keeps Getting Worse"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Simon Black via,

Hot off the presses, the US government just published its audited financial statements this morning, signed and sealed by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

These reports are intended provide an accurate accounting of government finances, just like any big corporation would do.

And once again, the US government’s financial condition has declined significantly from the previous year.

For 2015, the government reports $3.2 trillion in total assets.

This includes everything from financial assets like bank balances to physical assets like tanks, bullets, aircraft carriers, and the federal highway system.

Curiously, the single biggest line item amongst these listed assets is the $1.2 trillion in student loans that are owed to the government by the young people of America.

This is pretty extraordinary when you think about it.

37% of the government’s total reported assets are student loans, which is now considered one of the most precarious bubbles in finance.

$1.2 trillion is similar to the size of the subprime mortgage market back in 2008. And delinquency rates are rising, now at 11.5% according to Federal Reserve data.

Plus, it’s simply astonishing that so much of the federal government’s asset base is tantamount to indentured servitude as young people pay off expensive university degrees that barely land them jobs making coffee at Starbucks.

On the other side of the equation are a reported $21.5 trillion in liabilities, giving the government an official net worth of negative $18.2 trillion.

This is down from last year’s negative $17.7 trillion and $16.9 trillion the year prior. It just keeps getting worse.

But there’s one thing that’s even more incredible about all of this.

You see, each year these financial statements are audited by the government’s in-house agency known as the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

All big companies do this. They publish financial statements, which are then reviewed by an independent audit firm.

Auditors are a critical component of the financial reporting process.

It’s their responsibility to make sure that shareholders and the public can have confidence in a company’s financial statements.

When Apple publishes an annual report, auditors go through all the books of the company and make sure that management is accurately representing the company’s true condition.

Thus when an auditor issues a failing grade, or what’s known as a qualified opinion, there’s usually hell to pay.

At the very hint of impropriety a company’s stock price will tank immediately. People get fired. SEC investigations are launched.

And now based on US securities law and section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act from 2002, senior executives can face criminal charges if their companies receive a failing grade from their auditors.

This is serious stuff.

Yet year after year the GAO gives the federal government a failing grade in its audit report of America’s financial statements.

In this latest report, not only did the GAO chastise the federal government for its “unsustainable fiscal path”, but they state that the federal government consistently fails to prepare “reliable and complete financial information– both for individual federal entities and for the federal government as a whole.”

The Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Agriculture are all singled out for their failure to prepare complete and accurate financial statements.

This is corroborated by a report published last year stating that the Defense Department has somehow “misplaced” $8.5 trillion of taxpayer money over the last 20 years.

The GAO cites other material weaknesses in the government’s reporting of supposed cost reductions in Medicare and Social Security.

In all, the GAO calculates that these financial uncertainties total $27.9 trillion, suggesting that the government’s true financial condition is far worse than reported.

Bottom line– if this were a private company, Barack Obama and Jack Lew would be wearing dayglo orange jumpsuits in court while facing felony fraud charges.

It’s not just the $18.2 trillion in negative net worth. Or the $41+ trillion (by their own calculations) in the Social Security shortfall.

It’s the fact that they can’t even stand in front of the American people with an honest accounting of how pitiful the financial situation really is.

The government of the United States is totally, desperately, hopelessly bankrupt. And they become even more insolvent with each passing year.

Nearly every single dominant superpower throughout history was eventually consumed by its unsustainable finances.

And in their decline from power, bankrupt governments rely on a simple playbook to desperately try to maintain the status quo by every means available.

They destroy freedom. They impose a police and surveillance state. They seize assets. They wage campaigns of violence and intimidation.

They impose capital controls. Cash controls. People controls. Whatever it takes.

This time is not different. The finances of the US government are obvious, as is the trend.

We’re not talking about what ‘might happen’ or ‘could happen’. We’re talking about what IS happening.

And this is not a consequence free environment.

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MrButtoMcFarty's picture


The Liberal Progressive American Dream.

eforce's picture

I think the reason Trump is so 2nd ammendment friendly is because to do all the cutting will probably require militia involvement to take on the welfare hordes...

Kissy Ass's picture

Question. What country has the best potential for enterprising non-jews? The country should not be controlled by jews and the countrymen should hate jews(taking concrete measures to rid the country of the parasites).

What country is this?

Kissy Ass's picture

It's time to go and I just want to find a place to prosper without paying the jew tax.

tarabel's picture



You should love it in Iran. Lots of raging opportunities in China as well.

cheka's picture

For 2015, the government reports $3.2 trillion in total assets.

This includes everything from financial assets like bank balances to physical assets like tanks, bullets, aircraft carriers, and the federal highway system.


liars.  it is north of 100 trillion when add in all of the land, minerals, etc..

sell some of that sh-t and put the money back in the ss fund

cheka's picture

time magazine article from a few years ago..

don't buy the ss cut snakeoil - pushed by every repug (minus donald)...and many dims too.  sell some of the things dc bought with ss funds and put the money back

And a recent report from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) makes some startling claims about how much U.S. taxpayers own in real assets. According to the report, the U.S. government owns:

  • More than 900,000 separate real assets covering more than 3 billion sq. ft.
  • Mineral rights, on and offshore, covering 2.515 billion acres of land, more than the total surface land in Canada
  • 45,190 underutilized buildings, the operating costs of which are $1.66 billion annually
  • Oil and gas resources on and offshore worth $128 trillion, roughly eight times the national debt of the country
Mr. Universe's picture

the Defense Department has somehow “misplaced” $8.5 trillion of taxpayer money over the last 20 years.

Do you have any idea how expensive it is to run the Stargate program? Yes, it's alot.

Handful of Dust's picture

But...but...NPR just reported Soweto is "doing a victory lap on how good the economy is doing in Jacksonville."


Total disconnect.


Vote The Trumpster. Lets make America great again!

illyia's picture

Enough, damn it!

It is oozing from your pores, already and it is disgusting.

No more shills!

two hoots's picture


Keep that tax money off-shore.


The more the government gets the more it grows the more it needs, the more it wants.  Even without tax revenue the treasury/fed combo will feed it all it desires.  This must end and companies should not bring that money back home until our government is brought under control and it/we reestablish its purpose.


Same with Apple bucking up to the system.  Our government has gone wild stepping into every liberty and privacy we have.  They must be checked/reversed.


illyia's picture

Very funny, tarabel.

One thing I am sick to death of is this: Everything being politicized. NeoLiberals versus NeoConservatives.

Who the hell cares! The problems are bigger than both of them and the lost shills hijacking every posted article are ridiculous.

How is one side or the other going to liquidate the trillions of student loans without tipping over the ship?

Like the kids are going to pay them off... sure...

MrButtoMcFarty's picture

You should try Dumbfuckistan.

I need more asshats's picture

Exactly. He's a disgrace to the Ass family. I told Tyler to ban him like 5 or 6 years ago.

I dunno... Whatever.

Bubba Rum Das's picture

"You should try Dumbfuckistan."

You must be referring to Nulandistan...

-I hear there are wonderful investment 'opportunities' there...

Run by Crypto Jews w/ ersatz 'Russian' names, of course.

Vlad the Inhaler's picture

I would suggest North Korea, Somalia, or perhaps Burundi.

Cloud9.5's picture

I think that  is the reason the deep state has not disarmed us.

Mark Mywords's picture
Mark Mywords (not verified) MrButtoMcFarty Feb 26, 2016 4:06 PM

Go fuck yourself. And learn something about political thought and theory while you are at it.

VWAndy's picture

Rule # 1. They are all lying.

Handful of Dust's picture
Chicago State University notifies all employees layoffs could be coming


Chicago State University sent layoff notices to all of its 900 employees Friday, yet another sign of the escalating budget crisis for the Far South Side public institution that stems from the state's own budget impasse.


It's all so "robust" to use Soweto's words.

BeaverCream's picture

This is corroborated by a report published last year stating that the Defense Department has somehow “misplaced” $8.5 trillion of taxpayer money over the last 20 years.



MrButtoMcFarty's picture

Well noted.


I don't see anything really changing until K Street burns.

Bay of Pigs's picture

And when Wall Street is a smoldering crater.

Winston Churchill's picture

Maybe they go boating a lot.

Nobody on ZH can point a finger,they lose stuff all the time.

zeronetwork's picture

When money can be created by Ctrl+P , keeping the books balanced isn't necessary.

VWAndy's picture

Drive it like ya stoled it. Cuz thats what they did.

The Spanish Ambassador's picture

Sounds like Uncle Sam needs a Businessman to turn things around.

Hohum's picture

News flash: (Big) Businessmen love debt, too.

Bastiat's picture

. . . or one who understands a bankruptcy when he sees it.

zeronetwork's picture

That is wrong assumption. Businessmen can't think of anything but their profits first.

JamaicaJim's picture

The U.S. Government is based on lies.

Having first person experience with the US government;

they lie

they bully

they cover up

they kill innocent people


deflator's picture

.gov has a warm and snuggly side...haven't you been watching the Hillary campaign ads? 



skinwalker's picture

The feds own many millions of acres of land. That should be worth a bit of money. I'd be happy to help .gov's finances by taking some off their hands at 500 bucks a piece. 

Arnold's picture

Three cents an acre for lands west of the Mississippi.

wildbad's picture

and the hits just keep on comin!

popaye5's picture

They hiding a bigger elephant in that small closet.

BeaverCream's picture

Trump should just read this article at the next debate...One paragraph every time he gets a question. 

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

The gubmint has no more business being in the student loan market than it has being in the residential mortgage markets.  It has enabled tuition to skyrocket and resulted in a massive transfer of wealth to a wholly unworthy academia.

I paid my student loans in full, and these clueless metrosexual nincompoops will pay theirs - every penny.  Here's a hard lesson, kids - think long and hard before signing any piece of paper.

Scooby Doo's picture

That if you sign a piece of paper stating that you will pay X amount of money, someone will hold you to that debt.  That is usually a pretty hard lesson, isn't it?

Charming Anarchist's picture

I have a simpler idea: People should stop going to school.

lordbyroniv's picture

IBR Asshole !!


I pay nothing.


And I will declare BK in 25 years when you try to stik me with the tax bill.


You get nothing !!!


Hohum's picture

Simon, the ENTIRE ECONOMY is bankrupt.

Osmium's picture

"This includes everything from financial assets like bank balances to physical assets like tanks, bullets, aircraft carriers, and the federal highway system."

Wait, these Fck Sticks lost 12 Billion in cash in Iraq, and they expect us to believe they know how many bullets they have?

Mark Mywords's picture
Mark Mywords (not verified) Osmium Feb 26, 2016 4:09 PM

LOL & +1

NEOSERF's picture

Which is why compayn and country fundamentals don't matter and our presidential races are now dope races.  The ONLY thing that matters is keeping people out of the streets and to do that you give them an iphone, cheap heroin, keep the jingoistic wars going to get the most dangerous males onto other soil and keep pumping the only thermometer that would impact consumer purchasing...the stock market.  Guarantee you that the CIA is ready with a really bad virus (REALLY bad like 72 hour bad) if things get really ugly worldwide...much more effective than urban assault vehicles killing citizens in the streets..

Uchtdorf's picture

Americans will drop like files from hunger and disease. A pestilence will hit and there will be a shortage of body bags. Watch for the warning signs like purple lesions all over the skin and do not touch. Signs will be placed on homes indicating the number of living and dead within.

Dying might be the easy way out, but try to stay alive to fight again another day.

headhunt's picture

They are investing too much.


I think this is what the USSR smelled like right before it collapsed.