Federal government adds a $195,000 line item to that credit card bill you’re opening now that Christmas is over

by Ryan Streeter on December 26, 2011. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

There’s probably a reason the U.S. Treasury chose to release its annual Financial Report of the United States Government on Friday, December 23: it’s generally better to bury than to trumpet apocalyptic headlines as people retire for their Christmas weekend.

Actually, the Treasury didn’t offer a whole lot of Apocalypse last Friday. They offered a bunch of numbers and charts and Treasury-speak.

But James Agresti at Just Facts did a nice job of summarizing the awful news: the government’s¬†$61 trillion in ¬†unfunded liabilities and debt works out to $195,554 per person – or $514,471 per household. He writes:

This exceeds the combined net worth of all U.S. households and nonprofit organizations, including all assets in savings, real estate, corporate stocks, private businesses, and consumer durable goods such as automobiles.

Oh, and by the way, the $61 trillion figure is up $4.5 trillion since last year. As a simple reminder: $4.5 trillion is more than the federal budget in any given year and represents roughly one-third of our entire economy.

I keep reading pieces from the “Oh Don’t Worry About It” crowd, citing the faith the markets have in our economy and currency. These accounts provide little comfort in light of these staggering figures, which represent a reality that is, at the end of the day, quite simple to grasp: we have bought for ourselves way more than we can afford and the bills will in fact come due one day. This may not be exact physics, but it’s more like physics than the “Oh Don’t Worry About It” lobby seems to think.