The Bottom Line

January 5, 2012

In evaluating the impact of Republican candidates' tax plans, Tax Policy Center has been an invaluable resource. After having scored Newt Gingrich's and Rick Perry's plans for revenue and distributional impact, they have done the same for Mitt Romney. The results are also similar, showing revenue losses even when compared against a baseline that extends the 2001/2003 tax cuts.

January 5, 2012

As we mentioned on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was scheduled to roll out the strategic outline for the Pentagon's future. Earlier today, the Obama Administration released its strategic guidance report and held a press conference with both President Obama and Secretary Panetta speaking.

January 4, 2012

As the title of the blog suggests, the Urban Institute has a video with senior fellow Melissa Favreault analyzing the Social Security piece of Bowles-Simpson. You can view that video below.

January 4, 2012

Late in December, the Treasury Department released its annual Financial Report of the United States Government. The release date is fitting, since it is understandable that Treasury would put out a document with very bleak projections while everyone was heading out for the holidays.

January 3, 2012

So you thought all of the 2011 retrospectives were done now that we're in the new year? Well, we have one more to contribute.

The first part of our lookback on 2011 is our favorite 11 blogs of 2011. Considering that we wrote 630 blogs last year, narrowing it down to our choice 11 was very difficult.

The blogs of the year address health care, Social Security, taxes, the long-term budget outlook, and various fiscal policy developments that arose as Congress and the President turned their attention toward addressing the debt.

January 3, 2012

According to today's New York Times, a report from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will be revealed this week on how the Pentagon will meet its required spending reductions. The discretionary cuts agreed to by Congress and the White House this summer called for about $450 billion in defense reductions over ten years.

December 23, 2011
Fight Over Offsetting Longer-Term Extensions Ahead

Congress fittingly capped a tumultuous 2011 by snuffing out yet another fiscal showdown while managing to kick the can of tougher decisions down the road. Both the Senate and House this morning approved, by unanimous consent, of a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday and other various extenders. The most promising aspect of the whole ordeal is that the cost of the package was fully paid for (unlike last December’s tax deal).

December 22, 2011

What a year it's been! 2011 certainly had plenty of budget and fiscal policy developments that kept all of us at CRFB pretty busy. We wish that meant we could say that this was the year of a fiscal plan. Funny enough, we said the exact same thing last year, when we took a look back at 2010 and hoped for a fiscal plan in 2011. But now we really mean it this time when we say we're confident that 2012 will be the year of the fiscal plan!

December 22, 2011

Once again, ratings agencies are warning the United States that our current fiscal outlook is not sustainable and we risk further downgrades unless we change course. Following their November 28th decision to put the U.S. on a negative outlook, Fitch warned the U.S. again yesterday by saying that our current rising debt trajectory was “not consistent” with our AAA credit rating.

December 21, 2011

With the year wrapping up, our friends Ezra Klein over at the Washington Post and Derek Thompson at The Atlantic asked a variety of noted economists and other important individuals ranging from Larry Summers and Jared Bernstein to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) to list their favorite chart of the year.

December 20, 2011

According to a recent AP-GfK Poll, 76 percent of Americans think that the federal budget deficit is an extremely or very important issue, yet you wouldn’t know it from the campaign rhetoric.

December 19, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Brink Again – Washington’s favorite game played out again last week as lawmakers once more waited until the last minute to avert a government shutdown. A bill funding government operations not already financed for fiscal year 2012 was approved as the deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown passed.

December 19, 2011

In response to the release of the Ryan-Wyden premium support plan last week, The New York Times spelled out options for reducing Medicare spending within the program's existing framework in an editorial yesterday. These options are some of the most commonly discussed out there in the budget debate, so it's useful to take a quick look at them.

December 16, 2011

As the federal government has been slowly winding down much of its commitment in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the prevailing trend for cost estimates of TARP was one of decline (see, for example, here and here). However, that has changed with the release today of CBO's newest estimate.

December 16, 2011

Update 12/16: Representatives Welch, Miller, Van Hollen, Cleaver, and Himes formally released the letter yesterday to President Obama with over 90 signatures from House Democrats in support of not dismantling the sequester until savings are enacted.

December 16, 2011

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has announced the return of U.S. Budget Watch, just in time for the Republican primary season and the full 2012 presidential election. U.S. Budget Watch will monitor the election, the talking points, candidate websites, and the debates to get a picture of what each candidate is proposing, and will put it all into a unified plan to estimate the costs and/or savings (with an emphasis on the federal debt impacts) of what each candidate hopes to accomplish. First, however, U.S.

December 15, 2011

This morning, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled their proposal to significantly change Medicare, one of the largest areas of the budget and one of the biggest drivers of our long-term debt. Rep. Ryan, who unveiled his own Medicare plan earlier this year, has joined with Sen. Wyden to craft a plan that would significantly improve the long-term fiscal imbalance. These lawmakers deserve credit for having the courage to propose specific reforms to help control rising debt levels.

December 15, 2011

A bipartisan group of Representatives has introduced the Budget Process Improvement Act of 2011 in an effort to provide "improved accuracy and transparency" to the federal budget process.

December 15, 2011
Teddy Roosevelt Redux?

On Tuesday, December 5, President Obama went to Oswatomie, Kansas, where Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 had made one of his most famous speeches. Democrats, the current president would have us think, are following in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt in pushing for higher taxes on the rich and temporary Social Security tax breaks for the middle class.

December 14, 2011

A few days ago, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) came out with a distributional and revenue score for Newt Gingrich's tax plan.

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