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Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility Hardcover – January 12, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“It’s time for us to wake up—and wake up America—to the lethal threat of our own fiscal irresponsibility.” So states Walker, CPA and the government’s former top auditor, who now concentrates on raising public awareness of our nation’s growing deficits, increasing debt, and dependency on foreign lenders. He sets out to explain our fiscal situation in understandable terms, offers solutions, and helps us evaluate future programs that are heralded as “fair” or will “pay for themselves.” Walker explains our political culture in terms of what he sees as Washington’s malfunction. Questions that he suggests citizens ask of their government leaders: Has the government promised more than it can afford? Have politicians acknowledged that federal taxes must go up for more Americans than those designated “rich,” and are they just talking about fiscal responsibility without any action? Everyone will not agree with Walker, although he makes a compelling case for his views. Excellent book on critical issues as our economy slowly emerges from recession. --Mary Whaley


"Please read this book by David Walker. No one has worked harder, been armed with more facts, written more clearly and been more dedicated to the mission of restoring confidence in our fiscal affairs and trust in government." —Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board and Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve
"Dave Walker has lifted the hood on the federal government, diagnosed the problems, and provided a number of sensible suggestions to help restore America's greatness. READ THIS BOOK IF YOU CARE ABOUT AMERICA’S FUTURE."—Ross Perot
"David Walker shows us how to regain fiscal sanity and why, if we don't, we're at risk of bequeathing a lower standard of living to our children and becoming a second rate power.  Every American should read this book because Walker gives us specific solutions, and shows there is still hope."—Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley
"DavidWalker has drawn a true frightening and fact-based picture of a looming crisis; a crisis that will make the recent financial meltdown seem like a walk in the park.  If this analysis doesn't stir you to action nothing will."—Paul O'Neill, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush (43)
"Comeback America is a brilliant, factual, and highly readable account of our current fiscal predicament, how we got there, how we can escape, and what we should do in the future.  It is a must read by every American, especially our elected leaders."—Carla Hills, U.S. Trade Representative under President George H.W. Bush (41)
"Every American should read David Walker's clear analysis of our dangerous future federal budget deficits and of our current political system.  One might not agree with all of Walker's opinions and recommendations, but they should stimulate serious debate about issues that will determine the future of our society; and hopefully contribute to moving forward on those issues."—Robert Rubin, Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations and Former Secretary of Treasury
 “If you're a politician or citizen ready to get a grip—on budgets, spending, entitlement, and health-care reform—the ideas in Comeback America are a good starting point for a discussion.”—Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068609
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David M. Walker served as the seventh comptroller general of the United States and was the CEO of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008. Currently the president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Walker is a frequent speaker, writer, commentator, and congressional witness. He has appeared on a significant number of television networks, cable channels, and radio programs and has written for many major publications.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 181 people found the following review helpful By William Whipple III VINE VOICE on January 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me begin by disclosing that I am familiar with the core point of Comeback America, namely that the government must get its fiscal house in order or this country is headed for a big fall, and heartily agree with it. Thus, I attended one of the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour sessions (Baltimore, 10/29/07), heard David Walker talk on other occasions, and have watched I.O.U.S.A. at least four times.

Probably most people agree with the point intellectually, but prefer not to think about it. After all, the enjoyment of government deficits is in the here and now, while the day of reckoning is perceived to be years in the future. Sounds like someone else's problem.

As Walker points out, however, the victims of continuing fiscal irresponsibility could include innocent souls who are near and dear. Thus, to rephrase an old Washington saying, "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that baby on your knee." Consuming now and leaving the bill for future generations is not simply irresponsible; it is immoral. Moreover, the roar of the waterfall up ahead is getting steadily louder as the ship of state glides downstream.

The deficit problem has two dimensions, as this book clearly explains. The current deficits and debt are bad enough, marking steady deterioration in the government's fiscal position over the past decade and exacerbated by the current recession. The long-term fiscal gap, fed by a steady increase in "entitlement" outlays (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), is worse. As of 9/30/09, the government (and by extension this country) was in a fiscal hole of some $63 trillion, a total of liabilities and unfunded promises so vast that it is hard to comprehend, which was "rising every second of every day."

Do not doubt these numbers, by the way.
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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Rodriguez on February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My name is Robert L Rodriguez, CEO of First Pacific Advisors. I am a three time winner of Morningstar's Mutual Fund Manager of the Year Award for both domestic equities and bonds and my equity fund, FPA Capital Fund, was the number one diversified equity fund for the past 25 years ended September 30, 2009. I have used and referred to Mr. Walker's work for years and consider him one of the few that I would trust who has come out of Washington. His book is an easy read with a very straightforward analysis of the critical fiscal problems facing this country. He proposes several realistic recommendations to start addressing these problems. The greatest service he does is showing why light hearted, feel good sounding "solutions" will not and cannot do the job. Neither the Republican or the Democratic parties have been serious about discussing these challenges nor have they been willing to take real concrete actions toward solving these critical issues. If "we the people" do not start taking action and requiring our representatives to tackle these existing issues now, we will face a far more serious fiscal and federal crisis than the one we have just gone through in the not too distant future. As one of the few professionals who has been nationally recognized for having warned about the oncoming credit crisis, I believe "Comeback America" provides a workable template of resolution that can be begun today. Please share this important book with friends, family and your elected representatives. Your children and your children's children will thank you for it. For the record, I have no economic interest in this volume other than I believe David M. Walker's message needs to be heard more broadly. Thank you for reading my thoughts.
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By George Bush HALL OF FAME on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
David Walker, U.S. Controller General from 1998-2008, believes that absent significant reforms to current government programs and policies, federal taxes could double by 2030. His goals for the book are to explain our fiscal problems in ways that everyone understands, draw a road map for getting out of the mess, and provide tools with which to evaluate programs. "Comeback America" is well-written, non-partisan, and important reading.

Most Americans probably believe that our national debt is somewhere around $12 trillion. However, that excludes other programs that the U.S. has insufficiently funded - most notably Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid - thus, a true total of $56 trillion in federal government obligations - Walker's focus. (State and local governments have another unfunded $0.5+ trillion in unfunded liabilities for retiree benefits, per the U.S. Government Aaccounting Office, 11/09.)

Mandatory programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) took up over 60% of the $3 trillion 2008 federal budget, and we're currently running a $1.4 trillion deficit. This deficit almost doubled under Bush '43, and could double again in the next 8-10 years. By 2040, Walker believes federal tax revenues will only cover interest on the debt, and Medicare + Medicaid - if nothing changes.

Walker recommends starting the cure with Social Security. Its trust funds will run dry in 2037, and then require cutting benefit levels to 24% of current. He proposes to trim benefits for the middle and upper-income recipients (35% of retirees rely on Social Security for over 90% of their income), trim COLA increases, raise retirement ages, increase the cap on taxable Social Security wages, and require supplemental savings accounts totaling about 2-3% of payroll incomes.
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