The Bottom Line

November 23, 2010

We at CRFB have been calling for people to Get Specific on ways to deal with our long-term fiscal crisis for quite some time.  Well, since that has finally started to happen and deficit reduction plans seem to be in vogue (which couldn’t make CRFB happier), the second stage of the process, seeing where the plans intersect, is now beginning. And to start this process, we have a new paper that will help.

November 22, 2010

Talking Turkey – Congress takes a break this week for Thanksgiving. Lawmakers can be thankful for the brief respite, but the time is quickly coming when they can no longer speak in sound bites and generalities on fiscal matters and must get down to business. When they return next week they will have to face up to some deadlines, promises, and reality.

November 22, 2010

The Economist joined the Announcement Effect Club last week in an article calling for leadership on the deficit. Following many other plans put out over the past few weeks, they offered some of their own preferred policies for putting the budget back on a sustainable path.

November 19, 2010
Global Economy Edition

Of particular interest for us, Fed Chairman Bernanke noted the following in his speech today on “Rebalancing the Global Economy” at the European Central Bank’s conference in Germany:

“For their part, deficit countries need to do more over time to narrow the gap between investment and national saving. In the United States, putting fiscal policy on a sustainable path is a critical step toward increasing national saving in the longer term.” 

November 19, 2010

The Senate late Thursday passed another short-term “doc fix” that spares physicians from a 23 percent Medicare payment reduction through the sustainable growth rate formula. The cost of the one month extension will be $1 billion over ten years, which will be paid for by reducing payments for multiple therapy services provided to patients in one day by 20 percent.

November 19, 2010
GM, China, the Fed – and Munis
November 18, 2010

Ireland, under attack by financial markets for its economic, financial and fiscal problems, may be getting assistance from the international community. Top IMF and EU experts have been dispatched to Dublin and are expected to offer a “very substantial” support package of “tens of billions” of euros to the Irish government, according to the head of Ireland’s central bank. Ireland, it appears, is on the verge of being given additional resources by the International Monetary Fund and EU institutions so that it can continue to get its fiscal house in order.

November 18, 2010

Many of the recent debt reduction plans—including, the fiscal commission's Co-Chairs' recent proposal, the Galston-MacGuineas plan, and the Debt Reduction Task Force plan have included the important idea that health care cannot continue to grow without constraints.

November 17, 2010

For about a week now, we've been telling critics of the Co-Chairs' Plan to throw ideas, not stones. So, good for Jan Schakowsky.

November 17, 2010

The drumbeat for action to reduce our long-term debt continues. Today the Debt Reduction Task Force of the Bipartisan Policy Center issued its recommendations on ways to put the United States on a sound fiscal course. The bipartisan panel was chaired by former Senator Pete V. Domenici and former CBO and OMB director Alice Rivlin. CRFB President Maya MacGuineas also served on the task force.

November 16, 2010

CRFB co-chair Bill Frenzel says "three cheers for Bowles and Simpson" as he and fellow Brookings experts talk about reducing the federal budget deficit. See the discussion here.

 

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.

November 16, 2010

Earmarks have long been a favorite bogeyman here in D.C. – as examples of wasteful government spending and back-door deal making. The recent election results have only increased the scrutiny they receive. Promising not to seek earmarks is one way for members to earn anti-establishment bona fides, and many newcomers in particular are demanding an end to the practice.

November 16, 2010

Most of the attention in the debate to extend the 2001/2003 tax cuts has centered around the income tax, but a closer inspection of the provisions shows that there are a multitude of other taxes being considered. One of these is the estate tax.

November 16, 2010

CRFB board member Gene Steuerle has a piece in the Ripon Forum on the need for deficit reduction and budget process reform. He mentions the new recommendations from the Peterson-Pew Commisison on Budget Reform.

Read the article here.

 

November 16, 2010

Yesterday, in the pages of the New York Times, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas joined 15 other experts in proposing how one might begin to cut the federal budget deficit. Contributors spanned the ideological spectrum, with their ideas including raising the retirement age, medical liability reform, new types of taxes and tax reform, and defense spending cuts.

November 15, 2010

In her latest commentary on CNN Money, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas challenges critics of the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan and offers ideas to make it more politically viable. Read it here.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.

November 15, 2010

Hip, Hip, Hooray! The Chairmen of the President’s Deficit Reduction Commission finally have shed some light on the kinds of choices that will be needed to head off economic catastrophe. You may argue with some of their recommendations, but nobody who understands the Federal Budget will argue with a straight face that they have the basic components of any serious deficit/debt reduction package wrong.

November 15, 2010

The New York Times released their own "budget puzzle" over the weekend, allowing users to try to eliminate the primary deficit (the deficit excluding interest) by 2015 and 2030, thereby accomplishing the same goal the fiscal commission is charged with. Similar to our own simulator, it includes options all across the budget to help close the gap.

November 15, 2010

Congress returns this week for a lame-duck session during which members will face a huge mess—providing money to keep the lights on in the federal government. Lawmakers failed to enact any of the 12 annual appropriations measures before going home to campaign. This marks the 31st year out of the past 34 that Congress has relied on continuing resolutions to keep things running. But this year ranks among the most problematic. Congress failed to send President Obama ANY of the necessary spending measures.

November 15, 2010

We at CRFB have had our morning coffee and are trying to find ways to make the Fiscal Commission’s co-chair proposal better. CRFB president Maya MacGuineas has a few ideas this morning at CNN Money. But for the most part, it is a solid proposal full of good ideas.

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