The Bottom Line

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.

October 24, 2011

You might have seen a piece featured in The Nation last week arguing “How the Austerity Class Rules Washington,” noting in the very first line how the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget held a “high profile” symposium recently urging the Super Committee to think big and exceed its current mandate.

October 24, 2011

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 turned 25 on Saturday, prompting a number of commentators to write their perspective on the reform. We will highlight three specifically, focusing on the lessons from the 1986 Act, the possible economic effects, and why we should/how we can produce a similar reform effort today.

Gene Steuerle: Tax Reform - Lessons from History

October 21, 2011

As is well-known by now, the growth in entitlement programs fueled by rising health care costs and an aging population threatens an ever-increasing national debt. Our largest mandatory spending programs occupy nearly one-third of the federal budget and, in the coming years, payments out of these programs will continue to outpace the rate of growth in the overall economy. As such, serious entitlement reforms will have to play a role in a comprehensive approach to long-term debt reduction, along with other areas of the budget, in order to get our fiscal house in order.

October 21, 2011

With just a month left to go before the temporary funding for FY 2012 runs out, the Senate is trying a different strategy from the one that has prevailed in Congress for the past year and a half in the upper chamber: they are actually trying to pass their appropriations bills, rather than relying on a continuing resolution. Granted, this strategy is not exactly like the 1974 Budget Act envisioned--passing the twelve appropriations bills one by one--but it is more in line with how the budget process has worked in practice.

October 21, 2011

With the Super Committee deliberating and the window for committee submissions passed, CRFB has released an analysis and a corresponding slide show making the case for why Go Big could in fact improve the chances of the Super Committee's success in achieving at least its $1.2 trillion savings mandate.

October 20, 2011

Earlier this week, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced a number of rate increases to take effect in January 2012. For starters, the cost of first class postage (equivalently, the cost of a "forever" stamp) will increase by one cent, totaling 45 cents. Additionally, postcard postage will increase by three cents, letters to Canada and Mexico will go up five cents, and international letters will go up seven cents.

October 20, 2011

The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction included a detailed legislative proposal intended to enforce a declining path for the federal debt, beginning in 2013. This “debt trigger” mechanism is similar to a proposal that the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform has developed over the last two years.

October 20, 2011

We have updated our tracker of recommendations to the Super Committee with two plans that came out last Wednesday.

October 19, 2011

Social Security beneficiaries will see a raise in their benefits next year, resulting from a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase. The last time seniors saw such an increase was 2009, when they received a 5.8 percent bump in their Social Security checks.

October 19, 2011

Yesterday, a group of 14 Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Super Committee, urging them to eliminate oil subsidies for the top five oil companies. The basis for this recommendation is the "Closing Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act," which failed to pass the Senate back in May. According to the letter, that bill would save $21 billion over ten years.

October 18, 2011

For the past several weeks, we have been urging the Super Committee to Go Big on deficit-reduction and exceed its savings mandate of $1.5 trillion. The support behind Go Big has continued to grow, coming from individuals, groups, and organizations from across the political spectrum.

October 18, 2011

Yesterday, presidential candidate and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) released his budget blueprint for what would be his first term in office, which he claims would balance the budget by 2015 as a result of a small $13 billion surplus in that year.

October 17, 2011

Update: The House and Senate Agricultural Committees sent a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the Super Committee on Friday, promising a $23 billion savings package by November 1. Once this package is specified, we will include it in the tracker. 

October 17, 2011
A Weekly Update of Budget Developments and a Look Ahead

Leaves of Change – The colors of fall draw many sightseers to view nature’s beauty. Yet, it is important to recognize that behind the changing leaves are nature’s preparations for surviving the harshness of the approaching winter. From a budget standpoint, this winter could be harsher than usual, with fights over the budget and the Super Committee. What colors will Washington show this fall? Hopefully there will be less red and yellow. The House is out this week while the Senate tries to make progress on appropriations.

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