In late March, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the annual Financial Report of the U.S. Government. This important report came out, as it usually does, to a deafening silence. Mainstream media coverage was basically zilch, including the major daily newspapers.
When budgets come out, the media typically is all over them, both for the federal government and state and local governments. But not the audited financial reports -- the results -- of government fiscal behavior and misbehavior.
Two depressing but motivating reasons why likely include the fact that special interest groups care a lot more about government spending money than they do about accounting for the results, and that a lot of people tend to focus on the here and now -- the current year -- rather than consider the long-term consequences of current decisions.
But a third reason for the lack of attention to the annual financial report of the U.S. government deserves more than a mention. The Treasury Department itself is partly to blame.
Here’s a link to the Treasury Department’s webpage listing its news releases. In the days before and after the release of the report, there is not a single press release announcing the release of the annual financial report, signed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and dated March 25, 2021.
That press release webpage shows lots of other releases, including how Treasury officials met with African leaders about the “COVID-Climate emergency,” sanctions on military holding companies in Burma, statements by Janet Yellen on the International Trans Day of Visibility, and a statement on bridge financing in the Sudan. But nothing about an important report that should help secure the financial accountability of the U.S. Government to the people.
Maybe because that report had so much bad news in it. See Chuck Chokel’s analysis in our recent “Ask the Experts” webinar.