The Bottom Line

January 10, 2011

What do you pay in Medicare taxes? And what Medicare benefits can you expect? This issue—potent now that the first baby boomers are turning 65—was highlighted recently by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in a widely read Associated Press story.

January 10, 2011

In her latest commentary on CNN Money,  CRFB President Maya MacGuineas says that despite the rhetoric on reducing the deficit, some of the high-profile priorities of the new Congress may make the fiscal situation worse.

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.

January 10, 2011

On Friday, Austan Goolsbee, the Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, gave some preliminary remarks on the Administration's priorities for the coming year. He signaled that the focus will be on "recovery and [to] raise the growth rate" by spurring job creation. He also indicated that fiscal policy will be given increased attention in the coming months.

January 7, 2011

There has been an increasing amount of talk this week concerning calls for repeal of the health care reform legislation, as the 112th Congress convened for the first time this Wednesday. The House is scheduled to vote on a bill calling for a full repeal of the legislation this coming Wednesday.

January 7, 2011

Today, President Obama named Gene Sterling as the new director of the National Economic Council. Mr. Sperling, who will succeed outgoing director Larry Summers, held this same position under President Clinton's term from 1997 to 2000 and acted as deputy director from 1993 to 1996. Most recently, Mr. Sperling was a senior adviser to Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.

January 7, 2011

The Senate Budget Committee heard testimony today from Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve. Opening remarks were made by committee chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) – a member of the President’s Fiscal Policy Commission – and new ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

January 6, 2011

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced today the specifics for how the Defense Department will reduce spending by $178 over the next five years compared to its 5-year defense plan released last year, above the original $100 billion target that Secretary Gates announced in June.

January 6, 2011

The 112th Congress has moved quickly to signal a new focus on fiscal responsibility and attention to our ballooning national debt. As Congress convened this week the new leadership of the House of Representatives used some of its first actions to implement some of the changes they promised in the election in an attempt to convince voters that they are, quite literally, getting their fiscal house in order.

January 6, 2011

In its annual report to Congress Wednesday, the National Taxpayer Advocate stated unequivocally that "the most serious problem facing taxpayers - and the IRS - is the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code". The report goes on to list the sources of the tax code's complexity, the consequences of such complexity, and obstacles to tax-code simplification.

January 6, 2011

TV stars have the Emmys, athletes have the ESPYs, now budget wonks have a major award to call their own.

January 5, 2011

In the Pledge to America released this past fall, House Republicans called for "[rolling] back government spending to pre-stimulus, prebailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt."

January 5, 2011

Last night, the House Republican conference approved a new set of rules -- making some big changes to several budgetary rules currently in place. The rules package will go before the full House of Representatives this afternoon, and is expected to be easily adopted.

January 4, 2011

Over the holiday break, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) gave an interview on Fox News that qualified him to be the newest member of the Announcement Effect Club.

January 3, 2011

Happy New Year, and what a year we've had!

January 3, 2011

Happy New Year – Washington is gearing up for what will be an interesting 2011. President Obama is back to work on Tuesday from his vacation and the new Congress, featuring a Republican majority in the House, will gavel into session on Wednesday. Key dates are taking shape – the White House will release its 2012 budget request on February 14 and the stopgap measure currently funding the government expires on March 4.

December 23, 2010

Incoming House Republicans set to take control of the House of Representatives next month have proposed new rules for the 112th Congress. The House GOP Conference will vote on the rules on January 4 and may amend them. They will be formally approved by the House when it convenes on January 5.

Several proposed rules will have a significant impact on budget and fiscal matters.

December 23, 2010

With the holiday season in full force, the White House made some news in announcing on Twitter that the President will focus on the federal budget and national debt in his State of the Union speech in January.

December 22, 2010

The Treasury Department released Tuesday its annual Financial Report of the U.S Government. The report highlights the nation's budget deficit, net operating costs, debt projections, and all government liabilities on an accrual accounting basis. To sum it up, the report shows us how big of a hole we're truly in.

December 21, 2010

On Tuesday the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) keeping the federal government funded until March 4; the House is expected to pass it later in the day. This bill maintains discretionary funding for FY2011 at FY 2010 levels until March 4th--setting up yet another budget fight in a few short months. The total cost of the bill is $250 billion.

December 20, 2010

This morning, Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) announced that they will introduce as legislation the Fiscal Commission’s recommendations in early January.

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