The Bottom Line

April 25, 2014

Caught up in the release of CBO's baseline and its analysis of the President's budget last week was another CBO update of their estimate of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The subsidy estimate for the entire program is in line with analyses of previous years, showing a total net cost of $27 billion. The estimates have been much less than the $356 billion peak cost estimate CBO had in April 2009 and the $700 billion of total funds approved.

April 25, 2014

With the U.S.'s involvement in Afghanistan set to wind down at the end of the year, there is some uncertainty about the military presence in 2015 and beyond. Until a security accord is reached, it is difficult to say whether the U.S. will leave a small residual force in the country or whether the U.S. will withdraw entirely. Because of the uncertainty, the Pentagon provided a placeholder request of $79.4 billion (most of the $85 billion war spending total) for FY 2015 without specifying how the money will be spent.

April 24, 2014

Every year when the President releases his budget, CBO re-estimates the budget using a baseline set of economic assumptions – the same as it uses for measuring Congressional legislation. This year, they found that the President's budget would reduce deficits by about $500 billion less than the budget itself indicated, because CBO scored some provisions as saving less or costing more than the President claimed.

April 24, 2014
Farm Reforms,Technical and Economic Changes Bring Costs Down

CBO recently released an update to its 2014-2024 baseline including the first detailed agriculture projections since May 2013. Since then, Congress passed and the President signed the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the farm bill. This new law reforms farm support by doing away with the direct payment system, ending payments to farmers based on which crop they grow. Some of those resources are shifted towards increased crop insurance.

April 23, 2014

In our paper on CBO's analysis of the President's budget, we compared how CBO and OMB estimated the budget's policies relative to CBO's baseline. Of course, as those in the budget world know all too well, there are many different baselines against which to measure.

April 23, 2014

CBO’s latest budget outlook contained good news and bad news for some of the federal government’s largest trust funds. First, the bad news: CBO continues to predict that without legislative action, the Highway trust fund and Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund will be exhausted in the next few years. The good news, however, is that CBO's Hospital Insurance (HI) outlook is far more optimistic than the projections in their February baseline.

April 21, 2014

Shortly after the President's budget was released, we suggested CBO might be somewhat more pessimistic in its debt projections than OMB. Specifically, we predicted CBO would estimate debt on a slight upward path by the end of the decade, reaching 73 percent of GDP by 2024; by comparison, OMB estimated that debt would be on a downward path, falling to 69 percent of GDP by 2024 under the President's budget.

April 17, 2014

CBO has released their analysis of the President's FY 2015 Budget and CFRB released a report summarizing the findings. CBO finds a less optimistic outlook than the President's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with debt up to 74.3 percent of GDP in 2024 as opposed to OMB’s projection of debt on a downward path toward 69.0 percent of GDP.

April 17, 2014

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its analysis of the President's FY 2015 budget, applying its own budget baseline and methodology to the President's policies. The agency finds that the budget would reduce debt relative to CBO's baseline by significantly less than the Administration anticipates, with debt on a modest upward path in the latter part of the ten-year budget window, increasing to 74.3 percent of GDP in 2024, rather than falling to 69 percent of GDP as OMB previously estimated.

April 16, 2014

In the Wall Street Journal today, Chris Chocola of the right-leaning Club for Growth called for Congress not to renew the expired "tax extenders." Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee advanced legislation to reinstate more than 50 of these provisions, at a cost of $85 billion.

April 16, 2014
But Doc Fix Cost Jumps 18%

One of the notable changes in Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) latest budget baseline was a downward revision in projected Medicare spending from their last forecast in February. CBO now estimates that Medicare spending net of offsetting receipts for the 2015-2024 period will be approximately $106 billion lower than what the agency projected back in February.

April 16, 2014

In honor of tax day, CRFB released its Tax Day 2014 chartbook yesterday, with ten charts (and one table) that explain federal taxes – who pays them, what they pay for, and how they are collected.

April 15, 2014

Happy Tax Day! CRFB has produced a number of analyses and blog posts on tax issues since last year's filing deadline, from our report on House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp's Tax Reform Act of 2014, to our recent work analyzing the costs of the tax extenders. Here are just a few of our most recent blog posts on tax issues:

April 15, 2014

CBO's most recent budget projections show debt on an unsustainable path – rising from a post-war record 73 percent of GDP today to 78 percent by 2024. Importantly, however, CBO's projections do not always reflect where debt is likely to go after accounting for the actions that lawmakers might take.

April 14, 2014

The budget estimates in the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO's) baseline released today may have looked largely the same as in February's report, but CBO actually made significant revisions to their cost projections of the coverage provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

April 14, 2014

In advance of the release of their analysis of the President's budget, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has updated their budget baseline for fiscal years 2015-2024. While the newest projections are a slight improvement over their previous estimates in February, they still show debt on a clear upward path as a share of GDP starting in 2018 and likely continuing over the long term. 

April 14, 2014

After allowing taxes to rise on the highest 1 percent of earners at the beginning of last year, many Democrats patted themselves on the back for raising $620 billion of revenue for deficit reduction, while many Republicans declared that the tax increase fulfilled any future need to raise revenue.

April 11, 2014

In our discussion of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget, we talked about one area where the budget actually boosts spending: defense. The budget repeals the sequester for defense spending, shifting those cuts to the non-defense side while further reducing non-defense spending. However, the committee report for the budget resolution tightens the caps by clarifying the definition of what can count as war spending.

April 10, 2014

The enormous cost of providing long-term care represents a major challenge for America's health system, and a major funding challenge for Medicaid, the public program that covers much of the cost of long-term care. To identify a solution to this challenging problem, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) recently launched a Long-Term Care Initiative (LTCI) to find a politically and fiscally viable path forward to improve the financing and delivery of long-term services and supports (LTSS).

April 9, 2014

Budgets for the upcoming fiscal year have been released from the White House, House Republicans, House Democrats, the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus. All of them offer competing visions for the size and scope of government over the next decade.

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