Report: The 2014 CBO Long-Term Budget Outlook

    CRFB's MacGuineas on Bloomberg TV

    CRFB Examines Budget Process At Age 40

    Fixing the Highway Fund

Report: The 2014 CBO Long-Term Budget Outlook

  

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its 2014 Long-Term Budget Outlook, detailing the budget picture for the next 75 years. The report shows debt rising as a share of the economy continuously after 2017, a trend which CBO describes as unsustainable over the long run. Read our six-page analysis of the report here.

 

CRFB's MacGuineas on Bloomberg TV

 

CRFB President Maya MacGuineas appeared on Bloomberg Television to discuss CBO's Long-Term Budget Outlook and how imperative it is for lawmakers to address our nation's fiscal challenges. Watch the full interview on Bloomberg TV here.

CRFB Examines Budget Process At Age 40

 

Our new paper, The Budget Act at 40: Time for a Tune Up? details many problems facing the current budget process including lack of transparency, lack of accountability, and lack of a long-term focus. These issues have resulted in poor planning and policy around the debt, with the process increasingly becoming ad hoc, ineffective, and short-sighted in practice. Read the blog here.

Fixing the Highway Fund

 

In light of the nearing insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, CRFB recently released a new paper -- Trust or Bust: Fixing the Highway Trust Fund -- along with blogs detailing options to increase revenue, reduce spending, identify new revenue sources, finance a general revenue transfer, and fix the budgetary treatment of the HTF.

 

 

CRFB's Blog: The Bottom Line

July 23, 2014
Think Tanks on Left, Right, and Center Agree

In the coming days, the Senate will vote on the House-passed measure to replenish the Highway Trust Fund. The bill is a last-ditch effort to prevent the fund from going bankrupt and stalling construction projects across the country. However, the transfer of general revenue to the HTF is funded primarily by a budget gimmick known as “pension smoothing,” which appears to raise revenue in the short term but ends up costing money in the long term. Opposition to the policy has been building steadily and now includes organizations from all points on the political spectrum.

 

 

Although most of our analysis of CBO's Long-Term Budget Outlook has focused on debt projections, CBO also makes projections about the solvency of trust funds over the long term. And, unfortunately, it finds that most major trust funds will become insolvent in the not-too-distant future.

CBO has already projected the impending disruption of construction projects due to the Highway Trust Fund depletion later this year, the 20 percent across-the-board benefit cut facing Social Security Disability beneficiaries sometime in FY 2017, and the need to address the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's Multiemployer Pension fund by 2021. In this report, it finds that the the combined Social Security trust funds (assuming the SSDI program borrows from the Old-Age trust fund) and the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund will both run out of money around 2030. In other words, CBO projects that all the major trust funds will be depleted just over fifteen years from now. And, at that point, significant automatic benefit cuts would take place.

 

In our series on the long-term budget outlook, we covered how debt projections would change if some of CBO's economic and technical assumptions turned out differently. Uncertainty is clearly a factor in any budget projection and especially so for 75-year estimates. But CBO also points out that there are ways for policymakers to remove or lessen this uncertainty by changing federal policies, including by reducing federal debt to lessen the risk of negative revisions to projections.

Recall that the four parameters for which CBO evaluated alternate assumptions were mortality, productivity, interest rates, and health care cost growth. While it is difficult to insulate the budget from productivity shocks, government policy can mitigate the effect of shocks for the three other variables on the budget.

With the anticipated release of the Social Security Trustees Report, CRFB will be holding an event decoding the Trustees Report on Tuesday July 29 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC. It will start at 8:30 AM Eastern time with opening remarks.

The event will include a heavy-hitting lineup, with remarks by Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen Goss and Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and John Delaney (D-MD). In addition, there will be a diverse panel with experts from a wide variety of perspectives, including Goss, the American Enterprise Institute's Andrew Biggs, the Mercatus Center's Jason Fichtner, Third Way's Jim Kessler, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities's Paul Van de Water. The panel will be moderated by Damien Paletta of The Wall Street Journal.

 
June 4, 2013
CRFB's latest interactive tool "The Reformer" is a handy game that allows users to design their own Social Security plan. Users can select from a wide variety of benefit and revenue changes to make the system sustainably solvent. The tool then shows the effect on the program's finances and benefit and tax levels.
September 27, 2011
If you've ever wanted to design your own corporate tax reform, now you can with our new Interactive Tax Reform Calculator. There is no question that the U.S. corporate tax system is badly in need of reform, and leaders in both parties have been pursuing this goal.

CRFB Projects

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is an unprecedented and bipartisan coalition that seeks to mobilize members of business, government, and policy communities to urge Congress and the President to enact a comprehensive debt deal.

The Moment of Truth (MOT) project is a non-profit, non-partisan effort that seeks to foster honest discussion about the nation’s fiscal challenges, the difficult choices that must be made to solve them, and the potential for bipartisan compromise that can move the debate forward and set our country on a sustainable path.