The Bottom Line

May 30, 2012

Last week, we wrote about American Action Forum president and former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin's four steps for tax reform. These involved:

May 29, 2012

A Washington Post article late last week detailed a number of current Republican members of Congress or Congressional candidates who are foregoing the "no new taxes" pledge circulated by Americans for Tax Reform. Signs that the seemingly ubiquitous pledge is fading in popularity are good for the purpose of getting a deal on deficit reduction that tackles all parts of the budget. Here's one example of a House candidate eschewing the pledge:

May 29, 2012

Update: The text has been updated to include spending growth numbers for President Bush excluding financial rescue programs.

May 29, 2012

CRFB has called for this year’s presidential candidates to "Debate the Debt" by dedicating one of the three presidential debates to proposals for putting the federal debt on a sustainable path. More and more Americans, from all walks of life, are joining the call.

May 25, 2012

The Hill has an article today detailing infighting within the Democrats over what to do with the 2001/2003 tax cuts. The position expressed by President Obama and many Democrats for years has been to extend the tax cuts only for people making less than $250,000, but a growing contingent seems to favor upping that threshold to $1 million, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

May 25, 2012

Each day the Fiscal Cliff gets closer and closer, adding more uncertainty to our economic situation. But, as Deutsche Borse Group reports today, there is some cause for hope.

May 24, 2012

The USA Today has an interesting article on the "real federal deficit" for 2011. They say that the $1.3 trillion is dwarfed by a more comprehensive tally that includes changes in unfunded liabilities:

May 23, 2012

In a blog post cross-posted at Tax Policy Center and Forbes, Howard Gleckman summarizes a talk that American Action Forum president and former CBO di

May 22, 2012

Estimates of the fiscal cliff that is set to occur at the end of the year have been popping up in recent weeks. Now CBO has lended its voice to the discussion in a brief, making a number of interesting observations and quantifications with regards to the cliff.

May 22, 2012
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Much Not to ‘Like’ – Facebook had its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday. The hype surrounding the offering illustrated the prominence of social networking in our economy and society. Yet, for all the lofty numbers involved, they pale in comparison to the federal budget.

May 22, 2012

Yesterday, Medicare trustee Charles Blahous and former chief economist for Vice President Biden Jared Bernstein had a debate about the fiscal consequences of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The event, hosted by e21 at the National Press Club, discussed Blahous's recent paper on the ACA that claimed the law would increase the deficit, contrary to CBO projections.

May 21, 2012

Yesterday, Zeke Emanuel advanced an interesting proposal for Social Security and Medicare in a blog at The New York Times: varying the retirement ages for lifetime earnings. This policy is a response to a common criticism of raising the retirement ages that increases in life expectancy over time have been uneven across income groups. Emanuel's idea would work as follows:

May 21, 2012

When discussing new types of revenue or tax structures for the federal government to consider the other month, we touched on financial sector taxes as one of those options. The idea has caught on in Europe, with many countries and the European Commission proposing taxes of these sorts, although UK Prime Minister David Cameron has opposed it over concerns about its effect on growth.

May 18, 2012

Via the Washington Post, it seems that the House majority is looking at creating a fast track procedure for passing tax reform in 2013. This will enable a tax reform bill to be passed by an up-or-down vote with no amendments once it is formulated. 

May 18, 2012

Donald Marron, who recently wrote a blog post on how budget limits are treated in Congressional rules, wrote a piece today detailing how Medicare Part A rules could be altered so that savings in Part A could not be used to both reduce the deficit and extend the life of the Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund. Here's his take:

May 17, 2012

Steep budget cuts are linked to recession and higher unemployment in Europe, argue several commentators (see here for example). Are they right? Certainly, some countries have struggled economically when reducing deficits before their economies have made a recovery.

May 17, 2012

UPDATE: This blog has been updated to include CBO's brief about the fiscal cliff.

May 16, 2012

We have been warning for a few months now about the potential consequences of the fiscal cliff -- and adding to the debt by averting it all together. As it turns out, the short-term economic consequences may already be occurring, according to a recent Washington Post article.

May 16, 2012

Former President Bill Clinton joined the Announcement Effect Club at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's Fiscal Summit yesterday in a Q&A session with Tom Brokaw (you can see the video of it here).

May 15, 2012

On Sunday, Fiscal Commission co-chair and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles delivered a speech at American University's School of Public Affairs Commencement. Apparently, the message hit home for Ben Ritz, Chair of Fiscal Policy and Policy Caucus Director of AU's College Democrats.

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