The Bottom Line

November 2, 2011

Today, Representatives Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) held a press conference to release a new letter to the Super Committee signed by 100 members of the House. The letter was a bipartisan effort, with roughly equal representation on each side, and calls for a $4 trillion package with everything on the table, including entitlement reforms and revenues.

November 2, 2011

With reports that the Super Committee has been considering reforms to Social Security, rhetoric from all sides of the issue has been heating up. This past weekend, the Washington Post ran an interesting article on Social Security, its trust fund and funding system, and its future insolvency.

November 1, 2011

At the end of the just-concluded hearing of the Super Committee, Fiscal Commission Co-Chair and CRFB Board Member Erskine Bowles presented his top-line numbers for a Go Big solution that could represent a compromise between both the Republican and Democratic offers on the Committee as its deadline draws near.

November 1, 2011

Today in Politico, all four of the CRFB Co-Chairs penned an op-ed entitled, To Deficit Panel: Go Big, Long and Smart. Bill Frenzel, Tim Penny, Jim Nussle, and Charlie Stenholm lay out the reasons why the Super Committee must Go Big, Go Long, and Go Smart (see our policy paper for a more in-depth view) and then explain why it is both smart economically and politically to do so.

November 1, 2011

Later today, the Super Committee will be holding another public hearing with Fiscal Commission co-chairs, Moment of Truth Project Advisors, and CRFB board members Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson testifying together with Alice Rivlin (another CRFB board member) and Pete Domenici, co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force.

October 31, 2011
Take Action on Debt Before Fiscal Crisis Hits

Today's Roll Call included an op-ed by former Representative and current CRFB board member Vic Fazio. He discusses the need for fiscal reform right now, calling on his own party, Democrats, to address our fiscal challenges. He notes that the Super Committee may introduce recommendations that are painful for Democrats, but staying engaged in the process will lead to a plan that will be more agreeable to them.

October 31, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Happy Halloween – Anyone with kids, or anyone who enjoys scaring kids, knows that today is Halloween; the day of the year it is acceptable to wear hideous outfits and ask strangers for candy. Anyone who truly wants to scare people should dress up as the national debt. The numbers are frightening and the really spooky thing is that they are growing. With the deadline fast approaching, people are wondering if the Super Committee will have a treat, as in a deal that addresses the debt in a substantive manner, or a trick, such as no deal or one with gimmicks.

October 28, 2011

Going big is getting bigger. A letter to the Super Committee today from a coalition of business organizations that spans numerous industries underscores the growing support from the corporate community for the panel to go above and beyond its mandate. The letter garnered the support of 200 business organizations.

October 28, 2011

Rick Perry's tax reform plan has inspired a lot of discussion in the past week, but it left people wondering how much revenue it would raise. He recently had a consulting firm run the numbers on his plan using both static and dynamic analyses. Here we will focus more on the static numbers. In a perfect world dynamic scoring would be the way to go, but there remains too much disagreement on how best to do it. And the analysis memo doesn't give enough insight into its methodology for us to judge.

October 28, 2011

In addition to the letter from a large, bipartisan group of House members that is still being circulated for signatures, Go Big gained further momentum today as yet another bipartisan letter from members of the House of Representatives was sent to the Super Committee, urging them to

October 28, 2011

Last week the federal government announced that 2012 Medicare premiums will increase for most participants by $3.50 per month from $96.40, making 2012 premiums $99.90 a month. The percent increase is roughly equivalent to the 3.6% COLA increase for Social Security announced recently, but much less than the $39 per month amount of the Social Security COLA.

October 27, 2011

We talked yesterday about a roughly $3 trillion plan offered by Democrats on the Super Committee that would represent a "go big" approach to debt reduction. Now, the Republicans have made a slightly smaller offer, but one that would still exceed the Committee's mandate.

October 26, 2011

Two business groups today urged the Super Committee to not only approve of a deal before its deadline next month, but to also go beyond its mandate of $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade and advance a more comprehensive approach.

From the national business group, Business Roundtable:

October 26, 2011

Recently, there have a plethora of media accounts and interviews asking policymakers whether they believe the Super Committee will be able to achieve or even exceed its current mandate. Given the gravity of our fiscal situation, the real potential for another downgrade if lawmakers can't agree to significant reforms soon, and the unique opportunity lawmakers have right now, attention has rightly focused on the Super Committee.

October 26, 2011

At today’s Super Committee hearing, each of the twelve members had the chance to address CBO Director Doug Elmendorf on issues related to discretionary spending and the budget at large, and in it, Director Elmendorf made some very important statements regarding our fiscal challenges and the benefits of addressing them.

October 26, 2011

Today, the Super Committee will hold its first public hearing in over a month. As the weeks have gone by, anticipation has built about the prospects for the Super Committee to achieve its mandate. With just under a month to go, we hope the push for “Go Big” along with the trove of submissions, have taken root in the Super Committee’s negotiations and will continue to support the Committee's efforts to Go Big.

October 25, 2011

Earlier today, Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry announced details of his "Cut, Balance and Grow" plan for spending and tax reform.

October 25, 2011

We receive a fair amount of e-mails from concerned citizens every day, be it questions, concerns, comments, or just general thoughts. Every so often, we receive a comment that truly encapsulates what CRFB is striving for and why.

Today, we want to share such a letter we just recently received:

October 24, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Play Ball, Please – Baseball’s World Series is under way and it is a classic contest between evenly matched teams that could go either way. Meanwhile, Washington is experiencing its own Fall Classic that could go either way. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the Super Committee) is engaged in its own contest of wills that is generating a lot of “will” questions: Will the panel come up with a deal? Will the deal be for $1.2 trillion, or more, or less?

October 24, 2011

Two recent warnings over the United States' fiscal outlook are worth taking a look at. First, Bank of America Merrill Lynch released a report last week voicing concerns about the Super Committee and the risk of another potential credit-rating downgrade if they don't succeed.

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