The Bottom Line

January 10, 2013

The complexity of our tax code has many advocates making the case for tax reform as we head toward the second round of fiscal negotiations.

January 10, 2013

Donald Marron points out, via an old "West Wing" clip, how raising the debt limit used to be seen.

Of course, contrast that to now, when we see possibilities such as this.

January 9, 2013

Yesterday, CBO put out a new report on the system for taxing U.S. multinational corporations, a somewhat complex but important topic when it comes to corporate tax reform. The report both describes the current system and its shortcomings, while presenting options for reform.

In short, our current international tax system works as follows:

January 9, 2013

Recently, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) was nominated to succeed Leon Panetta as the Secretary of Defense. He would likely be presented a challenge faced by his predecessors Panetta and Robert Gates: how to find savings in the Defense Department and help make it more fiscally responsible.

January 8, 2013

With health care spending a central topic in budget discussions, the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released a timely report on the growth of National Health Expenditures (NHE). In the report, published in Health Affairs, CMS finds that total health care spending (both private and public spending) in the U.S. in 2011 reached $2.7 trillion, or about 17.9 percent of GDP. This comes out to roughly $8,700 per person.

January 8, 2013

Over the past week, CRFB has examined the composition, budgetary effects, and economic effects of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), which replaced most of the fiscal cliff.

January 7, 2013

Last week, as reported on our "Debt Ceiling Watch" blog, the U.S. reached the statutory debt limit, and the Treasury Department began using extraordinary measures to postpone defaulting on our debt. Secretary Geithner has warned there is approximately $200 billion in headroom using these measures until we default on our debt.

January 7, 2013

While the American Taxpayer Relief Act has put off worries about the fiscal cliff for a month, it is clear that we missed a clear opportunity to do something about our unsustainable fiscal path. Fiscal Commission co-chairs and Fix the Debt co-founders Al Simpson and Erskine Bowles made it clear that more will need to be done on the debt after missing a "magic moment" in these fiscal cliff negotiations.

January 7, 2013
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Should Old Reluctance Be Forgot? – A new year and a new Congress have been ushered in. However, hopes for putting behind the fighting and foot-dragging of the past are fading as quickly as the Redskins playoff hopes. The stage is set for a series of budget battles this year with both sides already laying down their markers. While the players and owners in the NHL may have settled their differences, the fiscal cliff deal did little to settle the budget disputes in Washington.

January 7, 2013

The American Taxpayer Relief Act has been discussed at length in the news and on this blog, but much of the discussion has been focused on the big provisions in the law like the extension of most of the 2001/2003/2010 tax cuts on income below $400,000/$450,000, the extension of unemployment benefits, or the delay of the sequester.

January 4, 2013

So far, we have analyzed the fiscal cliff deal by looking at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the package, showing what the deal does to the budget, and estimating the short-term economic impact of the deal. This blog will look at the potential impact of the deal over the long term.

January 4, 2013

Today, CRFB put out a release, "Washington's Gift for the New Year: Another Kicked Can," on the fiscal cliff deal and previous missed opportunities to fix the debt.

January 3, 2013

Update: CBO confirmed our numbers today, finding a remaining fiscal contraction of about 1 1/4 percent.

January 3, 2013

With President Obama's signing of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), lawmakers have avoided most of the upfront hit of the fiscal cliff but have made only slight progress on addressing deficits and debt. More will have to be done to control the debt, but it's not just CRFB saying this.

January 3, 2013

After a tense few days, or weeks for that matter, lawmakers have enacted a fiscal cliff package -- the American Taxpayer Relief Act. With budget negotiations likely laying low for a few days, we turn our attention to where the deal leaves the budget. We previously analyzed the budgetary effect of each provision of the deal relative to both current law and current policy. In this blog, we will go into more detail on what the budget will look like after the deal.

January 2, 2013

Last night, the House passed the fiscal cliff package already agreed upon by the Senate, by a 257-167 vote. Now the bill is headed to the White House, where it is expected to be signed by President Obama.

January 1, 2013

Last night, the Senate voted on and approved a package to avert most components of the fiscal cliff, which we took a preliminary review of last night. Today, however, there are many more details to review now that the legislation is available and JCT has estimated the revenue effects.

December 31, 2012

It appears both sides are quite close to a deal that would avert (or at least quickly reverse) the fiscal cliff. Although negotiations remain ongoing and not all the information is public, here is what we know -- or think we know -- would be included in the deal as it has been negotiated so far:

December 21, 2012

While most of the country is focused on the fiscal cliff, The New York Times is reporting on another cliff, this one involving the farm bill. Unlike the fiscal cliff, this one involves policies that will increase spending and deficits. If Congress is unable to agree on a farm bill before the end of the year, we would revert back to 1949 law, the last time the government made a permanent farm law.

December 21, 2012

Usually around this time, we say we wish this was the year a fiscal plan is enacted. But with the ongoing negotiations between the White House and Republicans along with the looming fiscal cliff, 2012 is not completely in the books yet.

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