* Publicly traded companies are legally required to account for “explicit” and “implicit” future obligations such as employee pensions and retirement benefits. The federal budget, which is the “government’s primary financial planning and control tool,” is not bound by this rule.
* At the close of the federal government’s 2015 fiscal year (September 30, 2015), the federal government had roughly:
$8.3 trillion ($8,279,000,000,000) in liabilities that are not accounted for in the publicly held national debt, such as federal employee retirement benefits, accounts payable, and environmental/disposal liabilities.
$26.7 trillion ($26,661,000,000,000) in obligations for current Social Security participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll and benefit taxes, certain transfers from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury, and assets of the Social Security trust fund.
$28.5 trillion ($28,500,000,000,000) in obligations for current Medicare participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll taxes, benefit taxes, premium payments, and assets of the Medicare trust fund.