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Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Financial Times

Financial Times, August 14, 2007
Posted: August 22nd, 2007

The US government is on a burning platform of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the countrys top government inspector has warned. David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his countrys future in a report that lays out what he called chilling long-term simulations. These include dramatic tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt. Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were striking similarities between Americas current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government. In my view, its time to learn from history. Mr Walkers views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to turn up the volume. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to have their name associated with. Im trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call, he said. As comptroller general Ive got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on."

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