The Bottom Line

March 14, 2014

It seems to be Gimmick Week in DC.

March 13, 2014
98% of Doc Fixes Since 2004 Have Been Fully Paid For, Resulting in $140 Billion in Deficit Reduction

To bolster their case against offsetting the high cost of SGR reform, many have claimed that the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) is “budget fakery” and represents “savings that aren’t going to be realized.” Yet while it’s true most SGR cuts have not gone into effect as scheduled, that doesn’t mean the SGR hasn’t helped to control health care costs.

March 13, 2014

Note: This blog has been updated from its original posting to include the CBO score of the Senate Republican proposal.

March 13, 2014

In the wake of the release of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp's (R-MI) tax reform discussion draft, some misconceptions have been spread about both its potential benefits and drawbacks. In this post, we will look into four of these misconceptions.

Misconception #1: The draft raises corporate taxes by $500 billion to pay for tax cuts for individuals.

March 13, 2014

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) isn't the only agency in town that does long-term projections. The Treasury Department annually releases the Financial Report of the United States Government, which shows a number of different measures of the federal government's fiscal health both in the past fiscal year and over the next 75 years. That report shows the U.S. government has over $56 trillion of unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years.

March 12, 2014

Earlier today, we wrote that the the House Republican SGR bill would add to long-term deficits by using a timing gimmick to pay for permanent costs with temporary savings. It turns out, a Democratic alternative introduce by Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) would replace this gimmick with another – the war spending gimmick.

March 12, 2014

While the relevant congressional committees recently reached agreement on a bipartisan plan to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a payment structure to better incentivize high-quality, higher-value care, the question of how to pay for that reform remains unresolved.

March 12, 2014

The administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its report to Congress on Monday detailing the sequester’s impact on mandatory spending programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, and it shows a notable about-face on the fate of the ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies.

March 11, 2014

OMB just published additional information, explanations, tables, and projections related to this year's budget -- known as the Analytical Perspectives. As part of that information, OMB published long-term estimates for the federal budget under the President's policies. 

March 10, 2014
(By Restoring Abandoned Policies to the President's Budget)

We talked last week about several policies making their first appearance in the President's budget. What we didn't mention is that in addition to introducing new policies, the President has dropped a few old ones. Among the policies the President had previously proposed but did not include in this year's budget are:

March 10, 2014

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which provides low-income taxpayers with a refundable tax credit that increases up to a certain point along with wages, has garnered bipartisan attention over recent weeks for its ability to encourage work. The credit has been around since the 1970s, and throughout its history has generally been supported by members on both sides of the aisle.

March 10, 2014
A Camp-ground for Tax Reformers

Gene Steuerle, Richard B. Fisher chair and Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute, wrote a post on the Tax Policy Center's blog, TaxVox. It is reposted here.

March 7, 2014

On Tuesday, the President released his budget, detailing his priorities for the upcoming year and beyond. Facing declining federal investment, the President's new budget places an emphasis on restoring some of the sequester cuts to discretionary and mandatory spending passed in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

March 7, 2014

On Tuesday, the President released his annual budget proposal, which details his priorities for FY 2015 as well as the coming decade. We published a paper analyzing the budget, and will continue to delve into specific parts of the budget in the upcoming week.

March 7, 2014

With the release of the FY 2015 President's budget, the Obama Administration has now presented six annual budget plans (and an additional proposal to the Super Committee). As you can imagine, there are a lot of policies in this year's budget that are holdovers from previous ones, but there are also new ones. This blog will highlight major new policies in this year's proposal.

March 7, 2014

In a Washington Post article last weekend, Zachary Karabell takes issue with the importance placed on CBO scoring of legislation, arguing that the focus on cost estimates prevents the country from spending on projects that could strengthen long-term economic growth.

March 6, 2014
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Stumbling Back Home – Budget Day and Fat Tuesday collided this week as the White House unveiled its $3.9 trillion Fiscal Year 2015 budget request on Tuesday, a month later than the law dictates. The budget landed as people around the world partied ahead of Lent. It is fitting that the two events collided given that the budget this year, maybe even more than usual, primarily centers on parties, namely the political parties.

March 6, 2014

On Tuesday, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) released an estimate of Senator Mike Lee's Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act.

March 5, 2014

OMB's projections for the President's FY2015 budget show the debt falling from a post-WWII record next year of nearly 75 percent of GDP down to 69 percent by 2024. In our same-day analysis of the President's budget yesterday, we expressed encouragement that the President continues to propose various revenue and spending reforms to bring down the debt according to his projections.

March 4, 2014

The President's budget is here, and so is CRFB's analysis. Our paper breaks down the key budget metrics, the policies the President uses to get there, and the economic assumptions that underlie the document. You can read the full analysis here.

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