The Bottom Line

May 13, 2011

With the release of the 2011 OASDI Trustees Report, there are a lot of numbers to digest, not to mention a few hundred pages to read (if you actually want to go through the whole thing). Fortunately, for our readers, CRFB has released its analysis of the report, which breaks down the important points.

May 13, 2011

Building on a report he made last year on budget process reform, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) has taken the next step in his crusade to fix the budget. The sequel is a report with a comprehensive list of 60 recommendations on how to help put our budget on a more sustainable path. These recommendations run the gamut of options, covering most areas of the budget.

May 13, 2011

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) has an op-ed in the Washington Post today in which he writes about just how serious our nation's fiscal problems are and the kind of leadership necessary to bring us back from the brink, while praising the Fiscal Commission for achieving bipartisan support for its outline to reduce the debt and applauding the efforts of the "Gang of Six" in the Senate for trying to tackle the polit

May 12, 2011

Yesterday, Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) introduced deficit reduction legislation -- the One Percent Spending Reduction Act -- that is based on the "One Cent Solution." The proposal is a simple one: cut non-interest spending by one percent each year for six years starting in 2012.

May 12, 2011

As part of a larger deficit-reduction effort, last month President Obama proposed cutting $400 billion from projected defense spending by 2023. Speaking at a conference in New York yesterday, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said that the Department of Defense (DoD) must now find ways to cut spending without affecting overall defense capability and effectiveness.

May 12, 2011

Update: Chuck Blahous joined the debate today in a piece over at e21, setting the facts straight on longevity increases, the retirement age, and how exactly the Fiscal Commission's plan would affect retirement benefits.

May 11, 2011
A Midweek Update on Federal Fiscal and Budget Policy Developments

No Deficit of Talk – At least there no longer is a deficit of discussion when it comes to our fiscal situation. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gave a major address Monday night to the Economic Club of New York where he said that increasing the statutory debt limit should be accompanied by spending cuts greater than the amount of the debt limit increase.

May 11, 2011
The Case for the Chained CPI

Today, the Moment of Truth project released a paper outlining the case for indexing federal programs to a more accurate measure of inflation, the chained CPI. Currently, many parts of the federal government -- including parts the tax code, Social Security, and many other programs -- are indexed for changes in either the CPI-U or CPI-W -- even though most economists believe these measures actually overstate inflation.

May 10, 2011

This morning, The Heritage Foundation released a comprehensive fiscal plan aimed at reducing the federal budget deficit by significantly cutting spending and reducing the overall size of government.

May 10, 2011

At 10:00am today, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Social Security reform titled "Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Social Security." Witnesses will include James Roosevelt, Jr. from Tufts Health Plan, Chuck Blahous from the Hoover Institute, Nancy Altman of the Pension Rights Campaign and the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, and Alex Brill from the American Enterprise Institute.

May 9, 2011

According to a recent article in Politico, Speaker of the House John Boehner will call for spending cuts that are "greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given" to be attached to any increase in the debt limit. According to Treasury estimates, Rep. Boehner's plan would require $2 trillion in cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling through 2012.

May 9, 2011

What Will Bloom This Month? – In April we were showered with fiscal policy developments: namely, a last-minute FY 2011 budget deal; a deluge of budget plans from across the political spectrum (see here, here, here and here ); House passage of a FY 2012 budget resolution; a major fiscal policy speech from President Obama along with a new fiscal framework; and a steady stream of budget process ideas.

May 6, 2011

Today, Comeback America Initiative founder and CEO Dave Walker (former U.S. comptroller general) and Concord Coalition executive director Bob Bixby published an op-ed in POLITICO. They write that the nation has some very difficult fiscal choices ahead, and that the only way policymakers will ever truly be able to put the big ticket items on the table is if there is greater public understanding of the nation's fiscal challenges and the kinds of significant structural reforms we will need to make to solve them.

May 5, 2011

The bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers hand-picked by congressional leaders had its first meeting today with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss a possible debt reduction agreement. In a statement afterwards, the Vice President said that the meeting was “productive” and that the working group will meet again on Tuesday, May 10.

May 5, 2011

In the awesome world of budget baselines and budget options, we are graced a few times a year with updated budget projections from CBO. These updated projections give us an opportunity to get a better sense not only of where our country's finances are heading, but also to update estimates on what would happen if certain deficit reducing policies were put in place.

May 5, 2011
Raise Taxes, but Not Tax Rates

An op-ed in today's New York Times by Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein says that while reducing our debt will require more revenue, that doesn't necessarily mean higher tax rates. Feldstein proposes the idea of capping the amount that tax expenditures as a whole can save an individual taxpayer to a maximum percentage of their income.

May 5, 2011

First, there was the taxpayer receipt. Now there is a an excess federal property map. It seems the White House is doing a good job to get graphic with fiscal policy.

May 4, 2011
A Midweek Update on Federal Fiscal and Budget Policy Developments

Bumping Up on the Debt Ceiling – On Monday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sent a letter to congressional leaders saying that his department this week would begin the “extraordinary measures” necessary to stave off a U.S. default absent an increase in the statutory debt limit, which will be breached around May 16.

May 4, 2011

Since President Obama put the idea of a debt trigger in the public's mind, it has become a hot topic. Third Way recently put out a piece detailing different types of triggers, including the recommendation from Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.

May 4, 2011
Raise the Debt Ceiling...With Strings

In an op-ed in The Hill today, CRFB co-chairs Bill Frenzel and Charlie Stenholm propose a fiscally responsible approach to raising the debt ceiling. They recommend including a comprehensive fiscal reform plan along the lines of the Fiscal Commission's proposal as part of a debt ceiling increase.

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