The Bottom Line

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.

May 18, 2011

In the past few days, CBO has released a few documents that might be of interest to budget wonks.

The first is a further analysis of the final FY 2011 spending agreement that was passed a month ago. The estimate not only shows CBO's updated discretionary spending estimates for this year, but also what discretionary spending will be over ten years using CBO's baseline convention of inflation growth.

May 17, 2011

Last week, several bloggers, commentators, and columnists went after Al Simpson for talking about increases in life expectancy at birth (since this measure is affected by child mortality rates), arguing instead that the better measure is life expectancy

May 16, 2011

Update: Check out our release on these "commonalities" here.

May 16, 2011

Last Friday, CRFB highlighted the 2011 Social Security trustees report in a paper outlining the projections and important changes from last year. We found the program to be on an unsustainable path, even more so than last year's Trustees estimated. But there's another program growing unsustainably that the Trustees also oversee -- Medicare.

May 16, 2011

Crunch Time – The playoffs are well underway in the NBA and NHL. A playoff atmosphere is also brewing in Washington even though the home teams are not in the picture. A debt limit deadline and several teams competing for debt reduction glory are creating an air of anticipation and trepidation. Who will go home and who will go all the way?

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.

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