The Bottom Line

March 10, 2011

Today is a busy day for budget and fiscal policy, especially for us at CRFB. Not only do we have our "The Human Side of the Fiscal Crisis" forum today, but CRFB President Maya MacGuineas will testify at a House Budget Committee hearing on "Lifting the Crushing Burden of Debt" at 10 am. 

March 10, 2011

CRFB today is hosting a timely and unique policy forum on "The Human Side of the Fiscal Crisis." The event kicks off at 9 am and features a stellar lineup of participants from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives.

March 9, 2011

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times? Let's just go with the worst of times.

March 8, 2011

In an effort to maintain the momentum created by the President's Fiscal Commission, the commission's co-chairs -- former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles -- have reunited to create the Moment of Truth Project.

March 8, 2011

Two important events are lined up for today. First, the Senate Budget Committee will hear testimony from Erskine Bowles and Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the President's Fiscal Commission.

March 7, 2011

Given the recent events in Wisconsin, we decided that the Spotlight on the States series should take a brief trip over to the Badger State.

March 7, 2011

Lots of Stopgaps, Little in Closing the Fiscal Gap – Washington averted a government shutdown last week by agreeing on a two-week continuing resolution (CR) that cuts $4 billion in spending. This is the fifth stopgap measure funding the federal government since the 2011 fiscal year began on October 1, 2010. The posturing and procrastination so far have resulted in little in the way of reducing our mounting national debt.

March 7, 2011

In her latest commentary for CNN Money, CRFB president Maya MacGuineas focuses on the need to reform Social Security. While there has been some momentum behind entitlement reform, partisan bickering and the polarizing nature of these issues have impeded any significant progress. 

Click here to read the full article.

March 7, 2011

CRFB would like to give much praise to Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) for introducing a bill to gradually raise both the Social Security full retirement age (FRA) and early retirement age (ERA) to help shore up the program's finances for future generations. The bill, H.R.

March 4, 2011

In a recent analysis of the second largest tax expenditure in the tax code--the mortgage interest deduction--the Tax Policy Center finds that most people would not see their tax burdens change much if lawmakers significantly reduced or restructured the deduction. Their findings may come as a surprise to many people who think of the mortgage interest deduction as a huge benefit for homeowners.

March 3, 2011

One day after President Obama signed a bill to avert - for at least 2 more weeks - a federal government shutdown, Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Congressional leaders this afternoon in an effort to move forward with budget negotiations.

March 2, 2011

In a vote of 91 to 9, the Senate has passed the House-crafted two-week continuing resolution (CR) to keep government doors open. Yesterday, this bill -- which will cut $4 billion in the next two weeks -- passed the House to set up this Senate vote. Congress was under pressure to reach an agreement before the current CR expires this Friday.

March 2, 2011

It's a busy time in the budget world, so everyone make sure to mark your calendars for two very exciting upcoming events happening next week!

On Tuesday, March 8th, the Moment of Truth Project will officially be launched at an event on Capitol Hill. The project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Sen. Alan Simpson of the President's fiscal commission, that seeks to build on the momentum and prospect for bipartisan compromise created by the Commission.

March 1, 2011

Today, the Senate Finance Committee had its first in a series of hearings for the coming year about reforming our tax code. Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) has said he wants to hold weekly hearings on the subject in an effort to make progress on this issue in the near future. The issue has gotten a fair amount of attention in recent months, with hearings on tax reform also having taken place in the Senate Budget and House Ways and Means Committees.

March 1, 2011

Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a comprehensive review of all federal programs in an effort to promote greater efficiency in government. This initiative was launched thanks to Sen.

March 1, 2011

Interest rates have an enormous effect on how much we pay each year on servicing our debt. In the Budget and Economic Outlook from January, CBO estimated that 1 percent higher interest rates each year could increase deficits by $1.3 trillion over ten years. CBO also estimated a few other "rules of thumb" to show how changes in inflation and economic growth have significant impacts on budget forecasts.

February 28, 2011

This week, our Spotlight on the States series heads down south to beautiful and sunny Florida, a state that has faced its share of budget woes. The state currently faces a $3.6 billion budget deficit (five percent of their 2010 budget) and has an unemployment rate of 12 percent, the third-highest in the country behind Nevada and California.

February 28, 2011

Shutting Down Versus Sitting Down – Congress returns to Washington this week after lawmakers spent last week back home. Just before leaving town the House of Representatives passed legislation funding the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year that slashes spending by about $60 billion compared to current levels.

February 28, 2011

UPDATE 3/1: House passes two-week CR by vote of 335-91. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says that the bill will be taken up in the Senate and is likely to be passed within the next 48 hours.

With the current CR for FY 2011 coming to an end March 4, both parties in Congress are issuing short term plans to avoid a government shutdown, or at least to have political cover in case the government is shuttered.

February 28, 2011

In her latest commentary for CNN Money, CRFB president Maya MacGuineas talks about the House Republicans' latest spending proposals, how they could affect the budget and the economy, and the need for more fundamental budget reform.

Click here to read the full article.

 

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