What sort of shape are the federal government's finances in? The Government Accountability Office attempted a review and found that the numbers were such a mess they couldn't even complete an audit. From this morning's press release:
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) cannot render an opinion on the 2011 consolidated financial statements of the federal government, because of widespread material internal control weaknesses, significant uncertainties, and other limitations.
As was the case in 2010, the main obstacles to a GAO opinion on the accrual- based consolidated financial statements were: (1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) that made its financial statements unauditable, (2) the federal government's inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies, and (3) the federal government's ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements.