Mar 04, 2011 3:14 PM GMT
Full Article available here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/03/bill-gates-ted-2011_n_830972.html
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- During a second appearance onstage at the annual TED conference, Bill Gates spoke out against worsening state budget deficits caused by accounting "tricks" he said would make Enron's former executives blush.
The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist said state budgets have received a puzzling lack of scrutiny and have been "riddled with gimmicks" aimed at deferring or disguising the true costs of public employees' health care and pension obligations, citing California's ongoing budget crisis as an example of creative deficit spending and the subsequent cuts to education spending as an unacceptable cost.
"[R]eally, when you get down to it, the guys at Enron never would have done this. This is so blatant, so extreme," Gates said of state governments' accounting practices generally. "Is anyone paying attention to some of the things these guys do? They borrow money -- they're not supposed to, but they figure out a way -- they make you pay more in withholding to help their cashflow out, they sell off the assets, they defer the payments, they sell off the revenues from tobacco."