The Bottom Line

June 1, 2011

This morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement signed by more than 150 economists furthering the call for spending cuts that exceed any raise in the debt ceiling.

June 1, 2011
A Midweek Update on Federal Fiscal and Budget Policy Developments

Feeling the Heat – As most of us return to work this week nursing sunburns and swapping stories of grilling glory, the heat is on in Washington, at least on one side of Capitol Hill. Senators are out of town this week, but Representatives are working on appropriations. Meanwhile, the debt limit deadline continues to draw closer.

May 31, 2011

The Washington Post has a story today saying that ending retirement savings tax expenditures would save little money. The argument is a familiar one, and one that requires an understanding of how tax expenditures are scored.

May 27, 2011

Though recent discussion about "spending in the tax code" has brought fresh attention to tax expenditures, much of the discussion has been about how to deal with them comprehensively.

May 27, 2011

Trading of credit default swaps (CDS) insuring U.S. treasuries has doubled in the last year in response to fears over our inability to deal with our debt and deficit problems in addition to fears about lawmakers not raising the statutory debt ceiling to avoid a U.S. default.

May 27, 2011

Today's editorial in the Washington Post, "The Chained CPI, an easy way to save money," endorses switching to the chained CPI for indexation of all inflation-indexed federal programs and provisions in the tax code -- a change CRFB has long supported.

May 26, 2011

Yesterday, the Senate voted on four budget resolutions (Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)/ House Passed Budget  and President Obama's Febuary Budget) and all failed to meet the 60 vote threshold.

May 26, 2011

Yesterday at the Peterson Foundation's 2011 Fiscal Summit, six think tanks--Heritage, AEI, EPI, Center for American Progress, Bipartisan Policy Center, and the Roosevelt Institute--released their plans to cut our medium- and long-term deficits and debt. We won't get into the details of each plan (you can check them out here), but we will quickly compare the metrics for each of them.

May 26, 2011
Comparing the Upper-Income Tax Cuts to the Social Security Shortfall

It seems like we are having Social Security deja vu. Just a couple weeks ago, we basically repeated our response from last September to those who criticize raising the retirement age.

May 25, 2011

The Biden group of debt negotiations resumed on Tuesday with the fourth meeting of the bipartisan group of lawmakers chaired by Vice President Biden. The talks continued to focus on forging a debt reduction deal that will facilitate an increase in the statutory debt limit.

May 25, 2011

Fiscal policy experts and policymakers gather today for the second annual Fiscal Summit in Washington, DC, convened by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. In addition to speeches from luminaries such as former President Bill Clinton, former Senator Alan Simpson, and several sitting members of Congress, the event will also feature new fiscal plans from groups spanning the political spectrum, including the American Enterprise Insitiute, Center for American Progress, and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

May 24, 2011

Attempting not to replicate last year's/this year's FY 2011 appropriations debacle, the House is moving the FY 2012 process in a relatively timely manner.

May 24, 2011

Donald Marron, director of the Tax Policy Center, has a good piece over at the Christian Science Monitor on how tax expenditures should be part of any deficit reduction plan and subject to the same scrutiny that direct spending is.

As Marron says:

May 23, 2011

The Washington Post has a great interactive graphic up on their website that allows you to compare several major fiscal plans -- and it's based on CRFB's analysis of the plans, we might add!

May 23, 2011

Not Rounding the Bend Yet – Like the Triple Crown field, the fiscal policy landscape is muddled with several solutions vying to break out from the pack (see a comparison of fiscal plans here). With the Gang of Six at an impasse, no dark horse is emerging yet that can take the roses. Fiscal policy is seemingly mired in the backstretch, moving at a plodding pace. With no breakthroughs expected this week, many are asking: when will we round the bend towards the home stretch?

May 23, 2011

We talked a lot last year about OMB efforts to improve government efficiency, culminating in the Improper Payment Elimination and Recovery Act in July. Well, the Administration is at it again, making new measures to cut down on improper payments--payments made to the wrong person, for the wrong reason, or for the wrong amount.  Improper payments totaled $125 billion in 2010, and the Administration goal is to cut them in half by 2012.

May 20, 2011

In a release today, CRFB highlighted the overlapping policies between the most prominent fiscal plans, identifying over $1 trillion in commonalities.

CRFB argues that what the country really needs is a $4 trillion-plus deficit reduction plan.

May 20, 2011

Yesterday, Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) released a proposal to reform the Medicaid program. Their proposal is in some ways similar to the Medicaid changes incorporated in the House Republican budget.

May 19, 2011

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner gave a speech about the unsustainability of our country's current fiscal path. Speaking at the Harvard Club in New York City, Secretary Geithner talked about the severity of our fiscal problems, the consequences of delaying action, and what will ultimately have to be done to restore fiscal responsibility.

May 19, 2011

Taking a break from all the recent developments in the budget and fiscal policy world, we take a quick turn to our Spotlight on the States blog series to see what budget battles in Ohio have been focusing on, and the possible solutions.

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