Fiscal FactCheck Releases Infographic on Candidates' Tax Plans

CRFB’s new Fiscal FactCheck project, today, released an infographic comparing the costs of several GOP presidential candidates’ tax plans. So far, the Tax Foundation has scored plans from Bush, Cruz, Jindal, Paul, Rubio, Santorum, and Trump. Although these plans offer a number of thoughtful improvements to the tax code, they would also add trillions to the deficit.

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Budget Deal Truly Offsets Only Half Its Cost

Lawmakers passed a budget deal that will increase appropriated spending, suspend the debt limit until March 2017, reallocate revenue to the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund, and avoid a spike in some Medicare premiums. We estimate that when interest is added and gimmicks are removed, only half of the bill's cost is truly paid for. It does include some long-term savings, but as we described it in a press release: it has “too many gimmicks, too few reforms.” 

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2016 Fiscal FactCheck

The next President will need to confront a number of budgetary challenges. Yet too often, election campaigns are about telling voters what they want to hear rather than what they need to know. To separate fiction from reality, the Fiscal FactCheck series will monitor statements made during the the 2016 campaign on an ongoing basis. Follow @fiscalfactcheck on Twitter for updates.

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Bush Proposes Social Security & Medicare Reform Plan

Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush unveiled a new plan – among the most detailed we have seen so far from any presidential candidate – to reform Social Security and Medicare. According to our estimates, Gov. Bush’s plan would save about $285 billion (including interest) over ten years and very roughly $2.7 trillion over twenty years.

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CRFB's Blog: The Bottom Line

A fiscally irresponsible bipartisan deal is emerging to re-instate, make permanent, and in some cases expand many of the tax breaks known as the tax extenders. According to several press reports (behind paywall), the deal could end up costing $700 billion over a decade. When interest is included, that means the emerging tax extenders deal could add nearly $850 billion to the decade this decade and $2.3 trillion by 2035.

By the end of the year, lawmakers will likely to try to revive the “tax extenders,” a set of more than 50 tax breaks that expired at the end of 2014 for individuals and businesses, ranging from broad breaks for research, renewable energy, and small businesses to narrower breaks for film production, teachers, and racehorses. Extending these tax provisions will further add to the debt if they are not offset, compounding the effects of the fiscally irresponsible budget deal that only offset half of its cost

As the House and Senate are conferencing their highway bills, a debate has broken out over how to spend the $78 billion of offsets. Setting aside the fact that the offsets themselves largely come from a budget gimmick, lawmakers have a choice between funding six years of spending at current levels or five years of spending at elevated levels.

The Brookings Institution's Center on Children and Families held an event this week highlighting eight big issues the presidential candidates need to address in the 2016 campaign. Eight papers were prepared on the various issues by scholars in their relevant areas. One of the featured issues was the growing federal debt, which was addressed in a paper by Bob Bixby, executive director at the Concord Coalition, and Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. Their paper, "Why the Federal Debt Must Be a Top Priority for the 2016 Presidential Candidates," points out why this issue transcends partisan agendas and why candidates should be putting forth proposals in preparation for becoming the next president.

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.

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CRFB Projects

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is dedicated to identifying practical improvements to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The SSDI Solutions Initiative is calling for academic papers on innovative ways to make the SSDI program better serve workers with disabilities, those who pay into the program, and the economy as a whole.

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.

There is a growing consensus that the budget process is broken. The Better Budget Process Initiative will put forward specific options to reform and improve the budget process in a wide range of areas, including increasing focus on the long-term fiscal outlook, improving the process for dealing with the debt limit, strengthening statutory budget enforcement, revising the content and structure of the budget resolution, moving to biennial budgeting, and addressing treatment of tax expenditures in the budget process.