Okay, that is sarcastic. Of course the Washington Post wants to talk about the federal debt, but only part of the debt. It continually highlights debts and deficits. But borrowing to finance spending is only one way the government makes future commitments for taxpayers.

The government also obligates taxpayers by issuing patent and copyright monopolies. These monopolies, which allow companies to charge prices that can be ten or even a hundred times the free market price, are effectively privately collected taxes. The government grants these monopolies as an alternative to direct spending.

For example, the government could replace the roughly $70 billion a year that U.S. pharmaceutical companies spend on patent research with direct spending. The Washington Post would, of course, be very upset about the $70 billion increase in the budget deficit ($700 billion over the 10-year budget horizon).

However, this could save us around $380 billion a year in spending on prescription drugs, as prices fell to their free market level. Since the Post never mentions the obligations the government creates for taxpayers by granting patent and copyright monopolies, the savings from this sort of switch would never enter the equation in the Post's budget pontification, only the costs.

It's not very honest reporting, but hey, it's the Washington Post. (And yes, this is all talked about in Rigged.)