The Bottom Line

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.

October 14, 2011

The CLASS Act, the new long-term care program enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, has been dropped, as the Obama Administration has struggled to implement the program in an actuarially sound manner.

October 13, 2011

With only a day left for Committees to send recommendations to the Super Committee, the House Democrats decided to take an omnibus approach. Letters from ranking members of all 16 committees were sent in one package, with an overall letter from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). These letters are more a laundry list of recommendations than a coherent fiscal plan, so providing a topline savings number would be difficult. Nonetheless, here are some of the highlights:

October 13, 2011

With federal budget news in a bit of a holding pattern until next month, we return to our Spotlight on the States blog series with a discussion of New Jersey’s FY 2012 budget battle.

October 13, 2011

On Wednesday, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas and CRFB board member Douglas Holtz-Eakin testified in front of the Senate Special Committee on Aging on Medicare reform. The hearing focused on the future of the vital program and ways it can be reformed to strengthen its finances going forward. The hearing examined a variety of possible reforms and what their effect would be, both fiscally and from a programmatic standpoint. 

 

October 12, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's economic plan received a lot of attention at Tuesday night's debate. Regardless of what one thinks about the plan itself, the fact that it generated so much discussion is a positive development. With so many voters justifiably concerned about the economy and yearning for their leaders to adopt sound policies that will spur growth in the short and long-run, the focus on Cain's plan underscores the dearth of concrete ideas from policymakers and the public's desire for action.

October 12, 2011

Two more recent recommendations have been added to our Super Committee submissions tracker, dealing with defense and health care.

October 12, 2011

CRFB President Maya MacGuineas and former CBO director and current CRFB board member Douglas Holtz-Eakin will be testifying in front the Senate Special Committee on Aging at a hearing entitled "A Time for Solutions: Finding Consensus in the Medicare Reform Debate." 

October 11, 2011

The Republican presidential contenders will be at it again tonight in yet another debate, but for those who are already suffering from debate fatigue, this evening's affair at Dartmouth University in the first primary state of New Hampshire promises to be different. First of all, the questions will focus on the economy, meaning that voters should hear more from the candidates on the two intertwined issues that polls indicate matter most to them - the economy/jobs and deficits/national debt.

October 10, 2011

In case you missed it last Wednesday, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas and CRFB board member Douglas Holtz-Eakin testified in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy.

October 10, 2011
A Weekly Update on Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Happy Columbus Day – Today we celebrate the man who introduced Europe to the riches of the New World. Nowadays, Europe could use such a discovery to alleviate its debt crisis, but what the EU is discovering instead is that the U.S. likely won’t be able to bail them out this time. The New World we find ourselves in now involves an economy that can’t seem to pick up and a debt trajectory that won’t head down without considerable action.

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