The Bottom Line

November 5, 2012

Richard Kogan at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has released a new report that argues that it may be a better goal for an upcoming budget deal to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy, rather than "Going Big" and coming up with a deal that will put the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward path. Kogan agrees that a rising level of debt is a threat to the economy, but argues that stabilizing the debt, even at its current high levels, should be our current goal. As he says:

November 5, 2012

The Hill reports that some lawmakers are supporting a supplemental bill to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) recently introduced a $12 billion supplemental that would mostly go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and a supplemental has the support of the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

November 2, 2012

On Wednesday the Tax Relief Coalition, a group made up of notable business councils including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Associations of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers, released a letter urging replace the fiscal cliff with a comprehensive deficit reduction plan using both tax reform and entitlement reform.

November 2, 2012

David Wessel, economics editor for The Wall Street Journal, has produced a fiscal cliff primer video. Wessel covers everything from why the cliff exists, what our current debt dilemma is, and where we could go next. It's a great introduction to the fiscal cliff and the current budget debate.

November 2, 2012

Yesterday in a blog post, IMF's Fiscal Affairs Director Carlo Cottarelli stressed the need for fiscal transparency on the part of governments around the world in attaining a comprehensive debt-deal. By fiscal transparency, Cottarelli means the necessity for governments to make fiscal information accurate and readily available.

November 1, 2012

Over at Wonkblog, Dylan Matthews and Ezra Klein have worked with analysts at Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy to create an individual tax reform calculator. The calculator comes in versions for both Governor Mitt Romney's plan and President Obama's plan.

October 31, 2012

As the East Coast and other communities affected by superstorm Sandy begin the work of rebuilding and assisting those who need help, the CRFB and Fix the Debt teams are keeping everyone in our thoughts. Just as there are preparedness lessons we can learn from Sandy, there are very important takeways for the federal budget too.

October 31, 2012

In order to avoid bumping up against the statutory debt ceiling, the Department of the Treasury has begun undertaking a number of so-called "extraordinary measures".

Keep checking back as we update this table (and click here for last year's Debt Ceiling Watch of 2011).

 

October 30, 2012
An Extremely Mucked Up Medicare Debate

Urban Institute Fellow and CRFB Board Member Gene Steuerle points out the great confusion in the recent Medicare debate. Both President Obama and Governor Romney are accusing each other of seeking to cut Medicare to the great loss for seniors.

October 29, 2012

Some commentators have pointed out that the fiscal cliff itself is a large deficit reduction package, one that would put the debt on a downward path as a share of GDP. But just because the cliff would reduce the deficit does not mean that it is good fiscal policy.

October 29, 2012
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Storm Brewing – The Northeastern U.S. is being impacted by the freak concurrence of several major storms that has caused major population centers like Washington and New York to effectively shut down. The economic impact from the so-called “Frankenstorm” is expected to be substantial. Not far off is another tempest that is brewing that also represents numerous events coming together.

October 29, 2012

Recently, we released an analysis demonstrating that it is indeed possible to substantially reduce tax rates while still cutting the deficit. Despite some claims that repealing all tax expenditures could reduce the top rate to only 38% (or by only 4 percent), we showed that doing so would allow the top rate to fall to 23 percent while still allowing for over $1 trillion in deficit reduction.

October 26, 2012

It is a point of consensus among those following the budget that the fiscal cliff would likely be very damaging for the economy in the short term, likely pushing it into a recession. However, there is less agreement on how quickly the cliff would hurt the economy. 

October 25, 2012

Though it seems we are far away from reaching a comprehensive debt deal, we can, at least for the moment, breathe a little sigh of relief.  A recent report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) reveals that Medicaid spending has slowed to a "near-record low" growth for FY 2012.  This slow rate of spending growth for the program is anticipated to continue for FY 2013.

October 25, 2012

Today, our own CRFB President Maya MacGuineas, rang the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to convene trading for the day, joined by CEOs supporting the Fix the Debt Campaign. With the fiscal cliff on the horizon, business leaders have plenty of reasons to be concerned about this year, and much more down the road if our unsustainable debt is not dealt with soon.

October 24, 2012

In an initially off-the-record interview with the Des Moines Register, President Obama outlined his vision for his second term. As you would expect, this touched on how discussed how he would address the fiscal cliff, and the budget more broadly, in the next few months and into next year, should he win reelection. Here are his comments:

October 24, 2012

When we talk about policy uncertainty these days, most of the time we are referring to the fiscal cliff.

October 24, 2012

Today, The Hill released its list of the "25 Women to Watch," featuring rising stars in the political world, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, and our very own CRFB President Maya MacGuineas. Over the last few years, MacGuineas has gained greater prominence as the debt issue has taken on greater priority in Washington.  The piece highlights the great work and leadership she has contributed to the issue of deficit reduction.

October 23, 2012

Wonkblog's Suzy Khimm reports on two new surveys showing that investor concern over the fiscal cliff has well overtaken their concern about Europe's woes at this point.

October 23, 2012

We did not live fact check the debate last night, but the debate did include a little bit of fiscal policy, which is not surprising considering the intertwinement between the budget and our foreign policy. We will go into a few of the statements below.

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