Hero of the Year

Dr. Mark Skidmore


“While budgets can be complex, in principle accounting relies primarily on basic math. It should be feasible to track revenues flowing in and expenditures flowing out, and share this information in a format that can be understood by literate people. The federal government is once again facing a potential budget crisis. Without formally expanding the debt limit beyond the existing $20 trillion ceiling, the federal budget and the economy will experience a significant shock. These issues will come to a head in December 2017. It seems now, more than ever, a transparent and publically available accounting of the $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments would be especially timely and valuable.” ~Dr. Mark Skidmore, Summary Report on “Unsupported Journal Voucher Adjustments” in the Financial Statements of the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Upon hearing Catherine describe $6.5 Trillion missing from the Department of Defense in fiscal 2015, Dr. Skidmore set out to prove her wrong. Upon discovering that the amount was accurate, Dr. Skidmore lead a team of graduate students in a survey of DOD and HUD financial reports for fiscal years 1998-2015.

The result? The amount of documented “undocumentable adjustments” at HUD and DOD surpassed the size of the official outstanding debt of the United States. With the help of Dr. Skidmore’s careful explanations, a much wider audience began to appreciate the importance of operating federal finances according to the law.

With his reports and documentation accessible, Dr. Skidmore continues to invite a much wider community of scholars, accountants and government finance experts to dig in to understand what is happening and what we should do about it. You can find his website Lighthouse Economics at https://mark-skidmore.com/

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