The Bottom Line

November 22, 2013

This week, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has been moving forward with tax reform, releasing three discussion drafts. On Tuesday, he released a draft of international tax reform intended to make the U.S. more competitive with other developed countries. On Wednesday, he released a draft on tax administration, intended to fight fraud and simplify the filing process.

November 22, 2013

The New York Times is reporting that the Treasury Department will sell its remaining shares in General Motors, bringing to an end its five-year involvement in the company. Treasury's holdings of GM stock have been quietly dwindling throughout the year, falling from about one-third of the company's stock in late 2012 to 2 percent after a sale two days ago.

November 22, 2013

Every year, CBO analyzes the Department of Defense's Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), most recently done last March. As has been the case over the past few years, CBO's analysis showed that DoD's plans would exceed the caps called for by the Budget Control Act, and far exceed those under sequestration. While the Administration and many in Congress have been looking to replace sequestration, they have not been able to do so yet.

November 21, 2013

Our paper released yesterday detailed how our long term debt problems are far from solved, making clear the unsustainability of federal debt over the long term and how much deficit reduction remains to fix it. As policymakers consider how to achieve long term deficit reduction, they must make sure they effectively evaluate policy options available to them, and have better information on the long term impact of different policies. 

November 20, 2013

Given the nature of debt ceiling politics lately, estimating when the federal government will start defaulting on obligations has become a common, multiple-times-a-year occurrence.

November 20, 2013

This week, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is moving forward with tax reform, releasing three discussion drafts. Yesterday, he released a draft of international tax reform intended to make the U.S. more competitive with other developed countries. Today, he released a draft on tax administration, intended to improve the way taxes are collected and make it easier for taxpayers to file. Tomorrow, he will release a draft changing how businesses claim costs from their expenses.

November 20, 2013

Today, CRFB has released a new paper, Our Long-Term Debt Problems Are Very Far from Solved, which shows while recent improvements may have benefited our budget outlook over the short and medium term, we have made little progress on the long term and sizable challenges still remain.

November 19, 2013

This week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is moving ahead with tax reform, starting with the release of discussion drafts on reforming the international tax system, tax administation, and cost recovery. Today, Baucus released the draft on international taxes.

November 19, 2013
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Historic Moment – On this day 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address dedicating the new national cemetery at the site of the epic Civil War battle. We observe that historic moment at a time when the “government of the people, by the people, for the people” that Lincoln defended appears at a low ebb. Congressional approval ratings are at record lows and other institutions are also suffering.

November 19, 2013

The year is rapidly coming to a close, with only 11 days left that the House plans to be in session. Before the year's end, Congress is supposed to hear from the budget conference committee on the results of their negotiations, but lawmakers also have a few other year-end events to handle.

November 18, 2013
Impact of Shutdown Lingers

Though the government shutdown ended a little over a month ago, its effects still linger on. In an editorial published today in The Hill, former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) reviews the aftermath of the shutdown and debt ceiling debacle, to try and determine what it accomplished.

November 14, 2013

In addition to CBO director Doug Elmendorf's testimony, yesterday's budget conference committee meeting produced another notable moment: a proposal from Sen. Angus King (I-ME) to replace part of the sequester with targeted and permanent reforms.

November 14, 2013

As the conferees met yesterday, any doubt that we can afford to wait on the long-term debt problem should have quickly been erased after CBO Director Doug Elmendorf's testimony to the conference committee. While the budget outlook has improved somewhat in the short term, little progress has been made on the long-term problem. And fixing the long term will likely require greater reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code.

November 14, 2013

On Monday, we took a look at the breakdown of federal spending and taxes by the type of household, particularly between elderly and non-elderly households. But CBO's recent analysis of 2006 household data also contains valuable information on the income distribution of the budget as well.

November 14, 2013

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released its budget options paper, a biannual report that provides over 100 suggestions of specific things that could be done to reduce the deficit.

November 13, 2013

As the budget conference committee works to develop a plan to offset some of the sequester, they may be tempted to use budget gimmicks in place of hard choices (last week we warned against use of the war gimmick). One such gimmick would be to repeal most or all of the sequester now and pay for it by increasing the sequester later.

November 13, 2013

At the second meeting of the budget conference committee earlier today, CBO director Doug Elmendorf was on hand to present the budget and economic outlook and to answer (as it turned out many, many) questions from the conferees.

November 13, 2013

We may have had to wait a little longer due to the government shutdown, but CBO's new budget options report is finally here. Today, CBO released its updated Revenue and Spending Options report, containing over 100 policy options and new budgetary scores for the current ten-year window.

November 13, 2013
With Order Restored, Let’s Act

The budget conference committee is holding its second hearing this morning as the conferees continue to try and work out a compromise between the House and Senate budgets. Today, CRFB board member and former Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and former Senator Judd Gregg, both who served as Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, stress in an article in The Hill the importance of using this opportunity to act and resolve our open budget questions.

November 13, 2013

The second meeting of the budget conference committee will happen today at 10 AM Eastern time. The conferees do not have a lot of time, as their deadline of December 13 is now exactly a month away and government funding will expire a month later on January 15. Testifying at the meeting is a familiar face in the budget world, CBO director Doug Elmendorf, whose agency will also be releasing an updated Budget Options report at noon today.

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