David M. Walker (U.S. Comptroller General) bigraphy, stories - American Comptroller General

David M. Walker (U.S. Comptroller General) : biography

October 2, 1951 -

Career as Comptroller General

Walker served as Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, his tenure as the federal government's chief auditor spanned both Democratic and Republican administrations. While at the GAO, Walker undertook a number of transformational reforms within the GAO and the government that were widely recognized. He also achieved two pieces of GAO-related legislation, one of which changed the name of the agency from the General Accounting Office to the Government Accountability Office. Walker embarked on a Fiscal Wake-up Tour, partnering with the Brookings Institution, the Concord Coalition, and the Heritage Foundation to alert Americans to the country's long-term fiscal imbalance. Walker left the GAO to head the Peterson Foundation on March 12, 2008. Labor-management relations became fractious at the end of Walker's nine-plus year tenure as comptroller general. On September 19, 2007, GAO analysts voted by a margin of two to one (897–445), in a 75% turnout, to establish the first union in GAO's 86-year history. At the same time, despite controversy over GAO's internal reclassification effort, GAO employees rated the agency as the second best place to work in the federal government.


  • 1996. Retirement Security: Understanding and Planning Your Financial Future. John Wiley & Sons.
  • 1998. Delivering on the Promise: How to Attract, Manage and Retain Human Capital. Free Press.
  • 2010. Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility. Random House.

Campaign for fiscal responsibility

Walker has compared the present-day United States to the Roman Empire in its decline, saying the U.S. government is on a "burning platform" of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, expensive overcommitments to government provided health care, swelling Medicare and Social Security costs, the enormous expense of a prospective universal health care system, and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon.Grant, Jeremy, "", Financial Times, August 14, 2007.Allison, Tony, "", Financial Sense Wrap-up, October 15, 2007.

Walker has also taken the position that there will be no technological change that will mitigate health care and social security problems into 2050 despite ongoing discoveries.

In the national press, Walker has been a vocal critic of profligate spending at the federal level. In Fortune magazine, he recently warned that "from Washington, we'll need leadership rather than laggardship". in another op-ed in the Financial Times, he argued that the credit crunch could portend a far greater fiscal crisis; and on CNN, he said that the United States is "underwater to the tune of $50 trillion" in long-term obligations.

He compared the thrift of Revolutionary-era Americans, who, if excessively in debt, would "merit time in debtors' prison", with modern times, where "we now have something closer to debtors' pardons, and that's not good".

In the fall of 2012, the Comeback America Initiative led a campaign called the "$10 Million a Minute" Bus Tour. The tour covered about 10,000 miles and stopped at universities, technical colleges, businesses, and more in over a dozen states. The tour’s goal was to bring national attention to the economic and fiscal challenges that face our nation and various nonpartisan solutions that should be able to gain bipartisan support.

Along with former Fed Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin, Walker danced the Harlem Shake in a produced by The Can Kicks Back, a nonpartisan group that aims to organize millennials to pressure lawmakers to address the United States' $16.4 trillion debt.

Personal and education

Walker was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1951. He holds a B.S. in accounting from Jacksonville University, a Senior Management in Government Certificate in public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, his first honorary degree from Bryant University, and several other honorary doctorate degrees (American University, Jacksonville University, and Lincoln Memorial University). He is also a Certified Public Accountant and has completed the CAPSTONE program for flag rank military officers. He and his wife Mary live in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and have two children and three grandchildren. Walker was a Democrat from 1969 to 1976, a Republican from 1977 to 1996, and has been a political Independent since 1997. Walker is a frequent speaker, Congressional witness, writer, and media commentator.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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