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CPAs to Federal Government: Reduce the Debt

Money-on-fireMost Americans greeted the news that the “fiscal cliff” had been averted with a mix of relief that a worst case scenario had been averted and frustration with the seemingly endless process. What has been lost on some casual observers is that, as a result of the deal, the U.S. deficit will actually increase an additional $4 trillion dollars in the next decade, according to the Centralized Budget Office.

Earlier this week, the AICPA released the results of a survey* asking members questions regarding the economic sustainability of the United States. The survey found that the vast majority are calling on the federal government to demonstrate more fiscal responsibility. In fact, seven in ten U.S. CPAs are concerned that both individuals and families will be severely affected if policy makers are unable to reduce the federal debt.

“CPAs in communities large and small and from coast to coast are increasingly troubled by the government’s inability to come to grips with this economic calamity-in-the-making,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA.

Fifty-four percent of AICPA members identified deficit reduction as the top economic priority for the United States in the online survey, well ahead of other issues, such as creating jobs (23 percent), tax reform (18 percent) and ensuring the long-term stability of Social Security and Medicare (5 percent). 

“Knowing what’s at stake, three quarters of those taking part in our survey (76 percent) are sending a clear message to federal policy makers to deal with our debt crisis without delay. Fiscal responsibility is essential to our country’s economic sustainability,” said Melancon.

Asked what concerns them most about the federal budget deficit, 58 percent of the AICPA members cited its impact on our nation’s economy.

AdvisorOne interviewed AICPA member Steven M. Frankiel, a Los Angeles-based CPA about America’s current financial condition for an article on the survey. Frankiel said “it isn’t that we’re so in debt, we’ll never be able to work our way out of it. It’s just that, unless there’s growth, many other programs will be squeezed by interest on the debt and entitlements.”

Expressing concern about the growing federal debt and its impact on the long-term fiscal health of the United States, the AICPA Board of Directors  adopted a resolution last November underscoring the need to put America on a better economic path. As part of the resolution, the AICPA will support two non-partisan efforts, the Campaign to Fix the Debt and the Comeback America Initiative.

In 2012, the AICPA developed a resource, What’s At Stake? A CPA’s Insights into the Federal Government’s Finances, which calls attention to why the financial sustainability of our nation must be addressed.

*The online survey of AICPA members was conducted Dec. 4-24, 2012, with responses from more than 1,700 CPAs.

James Schiavone, AICPA Staff



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