The Bottom Line

January 13, 2014

As the Senate looks for offsets for an unemployment insurance extension, there is one provision that has gotten some attention: ending "double-dipping" for those receiving both UI and federal disability benefits.

January 13, 2014

We spend a great time on The Bottom Line discussing the economic and policy consequenses of the nation's unsustainable debt. But what about the moral and ethical dimensions of the current fiscal situation?

On Thursday, CRFB will host a panel discussion from 12:00-1:30 PM at 1899 L Street, Suite 400. Lunch will be served at the event.

January 10, 2014

Yesterday, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate released its 2013 annual report, detailing what it sees as the largest problems facing taxpayers. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommend changes that will prevent those problems.

January 10, 2014

Today, the Congressional Budget Office released their score of the proposal from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to renew extended unemployment benefits in concert with other reductions in spending.

January 9, 2014

On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their annual update on health care spending growth, showing that 2012 was another year of slow cost growth and lending further insight into the burning question of what’s causing the recent slowdown.

January 9, 2014

The unemployment insurance saga continues. Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposed an alternative unemployment benefit extension which would run through mid-November, in place of the three-month extension previously considered.

January 9, 2014

Over the past few months, the subject of Social Security has been hotly debated, centering  Recently, Jane White authored an article in the Huffington Post supporting Senator Warren, and mischaracterized CRFB's position toward Social Security.

January 8, 2014

Note: This piece was originally posted on the Angry Bear blog.

January 7, 2014
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Out with the Old, In with the ? – 2013 is history and 2014 is just underway. While the New Year is usually a time for optimism, this year begins with many questions and concerns. Although there is hope for stronger economic growth in 2014, there is still much anxiety.

January 7, 2014

Among the elements of the budget deal that passed Congress last month was a small $6 billion change to the way military pensions are calculated for military retirees younger than 62. In the face of lawmakers who would roll back this change, both the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal editorial boards defended the provision in the last two days. 

January 6, 2014

The passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act was a positive move away from governing by crisis, and a demonstration that policymakers can meet self-imposed legislative deadlines. Yet substantial unfinished business remains, and much of it has significant fiscal implications. Below are some issues Congress should address early this year:

January 6, 2014

Since 2009, the White House has held an annual contest for federal employees to submit their money saving ideas, called the SAVE Award (which stands for Securing Americans Value and Efficiency).  The contest's finalists have their ideas included in the President's next budget submission (or implemented by executive action if possible), and the public votes on the winning idea. The employee who submitted the winning idea gets the chance to explain it directly to the President in the Oval Office.

January 6, 2014

It's the beginning of 2014, and Congress did not pass legislation to extend the "tax extenders," a collection of over 50 provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Although they might later be extended retroactively, that means that a motley collection of tax breaks for research and spending by small businesses, along with specialized breaks for Puerto Rican rum, NASCAR tracks, racehorses, and movie studios have vanished, at least for now.

January 3, 2014

At the end of 2013, Congress allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire, and as a result the maximum number of weeks for collecting benefits has declined from 73 to 26. While the White House and Congressional democrats have pushed for a one-year extension costing $25 billion, Sens.

January 2, 2014

Late in 2013, a debate about Social Security erupted centering around calls from some progressives to broadly increase Social Security benefits at a time when the program is already financial unsound. We weighed in a few weeks ago, explaining that given the program's existing actuarial shortfall, expanding it with broad-based benefit increases would be misguided (though targeted benefit enhancements may be warranted).

December 31, 2013
A Look Back at 2013

We have an end-of-year tradition here at CRFB to take a look back at the prior year. In 2013, we wrote roughly 45 policy papers, budget updates, and releases along with more than 625 different blogs here at The Bottom Line.

December 24, 2013

Best wishes to all our readers. We look forward to bringing you coverage and analysis of important fiscal policy issues throughout next year.

From all of us at CRFB, happy holidays and a joyful new year. 
December 20, 2013

Recently, many policymakers and commentators have called for expanding Social Security benefits rather than slowing the program’s costs, suggesting that the program’s current shortfalls are modest and easily addressed. Below, we answer some questions about Social Security to help explain why many of these calls are misguided.

December 20, 2013
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

That’s a Wrap – The House wrapped up its work for 2013 last week, passing the budget agreement worked out by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and extending the “doc fix” into next year to buy some more time for negotiations on that front. The Senate is trying to finish up this week and also approved of the budget deal, sending it to the president who has promised to sign it. The budget deal is one of the few things Congress was able to leave under the tree after a year marked by partisanship, brinksmanship and general dysfunction.

December 19, 2013

Senate Democratic leadership is reportedly considering a last minute effort to extend 55 expiring tax provisions for another year, including a large number of so-called “tax extenders” as well as the supposedly-temporary bonus depreciation. This package could cost $40 to $50 billion and includes no offsets.

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