As shocking as it may seem, the aggregate investment, gross income, and wealth controlled by government agencies in the U.S. exceeds the entire private sector.
Do you really own government or does government, in effect, own you via its intricate web of taxation and investments? If you’re like most Americans, you may be unaware of the number of local government agencies in existence (more than 87,000 in the U.S., as of the 1997 government census) and the incredible amount of financial resources at their disposal. Our featured guest, Walter Burien, Jr., has spent over 20 years of his working career researching and documenting this fascinating subject.
In 1989, Burien moved from California to East Brunswick, New Jersey. The following year, Jim Florio, the newly-elected Governor who ran on a “No New Taxes” platform, enacted a $2.8 billion tax increase – the largest one-year tax increase in New Jersey’s history.
Having worked previously in the commodity markets, Burien understands financial reports and how to interpret them. With the help of two disc jockey friends broadcasting from 101.5 FM, Burien took to the airwaves to explain to voters that the state budget underreported gross income by two-thirds, based on data contained in a separate set of accounting books known as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Burien helped form a consumer activist group called Hands Across New Jersey for the purpose of repealing the tax increase. Within three months, HANJ had attracted 63,000 volunteers from every county in the state. Eventually, both Burien and FM 101.5 were threatened for broadcasting the CAFR data and press coverage for HANJ ceased.
Fearing reprisals, Burien moved to Prescott, Arizona to start a small business, get married, and raise a family. His business ran smoothly until 1994 when he filed for a telecommunications router patent (#5638433) that attracted wanton interference and personal attacks from corrupt politicians, attorneys, and law enforcement officials. Fed up with the unrestrained money flows and political corruption, Burien returned to the mic on June 4, 1998, when he began to appear as a guest on Internet radio shows to disclose the hidden wealth and power behind CAFR.
In the ensuing years, Burien has appeared on over 550 radio programs and has written numerous articles about CAFR that have been published on his website and on independent news sites like WorldNet Daily, Spotlight, and the Idaho Observer. In January 2000, he released a video tape about CAFR entitled “The Biggest Game in Town” that has since been converted as a Google Video for viewing over the Internet. In November 2008, Burien launched another web site called the Tax Retirement Fund Association whose goal is to phase out all taxation and transfer government ownership of assets and resources back to the people.
A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is a set of government financial statements, which goes beyond the minimums established for Annual Financial Reports completed by public sector companies by the National Council on Governmental Accounting statement 1. A CAFR has three major sections : Introductory, financial, and statistical. Public sector companies will not have a statistical section in their Annual Financial Report. The CAFR combines financial information of fund accounting and Enterprise Authority accounting.