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David M. Walker
Comptroller General of the United States
Live Web cast April 23, 2001 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT

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David M. Walker
Compared to the elected politicians he works with, U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker has the luxury of being able to take a really long-term look at the opportunities and risks facing the U.S. government. Named the head of the General Accounting Office (GAO) for a 15-year term in November 1998, Walker is the chief auditor of all federal programs and activities, and is responsible for ferreting out problems in the receipt and disbursement of public funds.

His job also includes signaling problems lurking beyond the horizon, like a conscience calling attention to how policies adopted today can exacerbate or alleviate these risks. In the congressional debate over President Bush's $1.6 trillion package of tax cuts over 10 years, Walker warned lawmakers to be prudent with the projected budget surplus, and to take into account a demographic tidal wave he says will begin to arrive just beyond this 10-year period. This wave, he said “can swamp our future fiscal picture and return us to the days of growing deficits if we are not prudent about our actions today.”

Lawmakers must enact needed reforms to entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, he says, lest they “crowd out spending for national defense, our judicial system (and) the ability of future generations to make some of their own choices regarding what role government should play.”

Before becoming Comptroller General, Walker had been a partner and global managing director of Arthur Andersen LLP's human capital services practice since 1989. He was also Managing Director of the Human Capital Services Practice for the U.S./Americas, Global Managing Director for Andersen's Retirement, Actuarial and Benefits Practice, and a board member of Arthur Anderson Financial Advisors. A certified public accountant, he also served as one of two public trustees for the Social Security and Medicare trust funds from 1990 to 1995.

From 1987 to 1989, Walker was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Pension and Welfare Benefit Programs. He served as head of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in 1985, and has also worked with Price Waterhouse, Coopers & Lybrand, and Source Services Corporation, an international human resources and consulting search firm.

Walker received a B.S. degree in accounting from Jacksonville University and a Senior Management in Government Certificate in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He and his wife have two adult children.

Related Links:
U.S. General Accounting Office