The Bottom Line

November 16, 2011

Yesterday, Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi penned an article in Politico about the various possible outcomes of the looming Super Committee deadline. His remarks about the benefits of a multi-trillion dollar deficit reduction plan allow us to welcome him to the growing list of members in our Announcement Effect Club. Congrats!

November 16, 2011

Today at 10:30 am ET, Republican and Democratic lawmakers from both the House and the Senate will be holding a press conference pushing Go Big in a last-minute call for the Super Committee to exceed their $1.2 trillion mandate. It could not come at a more opportune time as the Super Committee has entered its final week of deliberations, before the Monday night deadline to hand over proposals to the CBO for scoring.

November 15, 2011

You might think we're about to talk about Social Security reform or how to reform the Sustainable Growth Rate. But what we're actually talking about here is the need for Super Committee members to not be thinking of ways to reduce the overall savings to get a deal, but ways to increase the savings to make the chances of a deal more likely.

With two rounds of deficit reduction offers coming from both sides on the Super Committee, one disappointing trend has emerged: claw-back.

November 14, 2011

Time is Short and We Need to Go Long – The clock is ticking on the Super Committee as its November 23 deadline is now just a week and a half away. It’s now or never for the panel. By looking across the Atlantic, we can see what happens when governments cannot get their act together to address national debt. Some contend that the only hope at this point is a small, face-saving deal.

November 11, 2011

It's amazing how sequences in Washington can repeat themselves. 

November 11, 2011

Both parties are studying cuts in tax expenditures (TEs) as a means to reduce the federal deficit. Super Committee Republicans have offered a proposal to limit the amount of tax expenditures to help generate about $250 billion in new revenues, while Super Committee Democrats have proposed an automatic trigger to limit TEs (a la the Feldstein-Feenberg-MacGuineas approach).

November 10, 2011

This week has seen the emergence of another set of broad outlines from the Democrats and Republicans on the Super Committee, in a process that is somewhat reminiscent of the Boehner-Reid back-and-forth during the debt ceiling debate. After each group made offers two weeks ago, they have come back with new plans that are a little closer to the other side's liking -- but only a little.

November 10, 2011

How does an average American get more involved in the Go Big effort? 

Today, CRFB posted a Citizens' Resource Page to answer just that. As you can expect from the name, the page provides a number of resources for citizens to get engaged in the deficit debate and plenty of links to educational resources and information about the budget.

November 9, 2011

Congressman Chaffetz (R-UT) has just proposed a Social Security reform plan to restore solvency to the program. The plan relies on reforms to the benefit side of the equation and calls for slowing the growth of benefits for higher-earners, increasing the numbers of years over which benefits are calculated, fixing the cost-of-living calculation by switching to the chained CPI, and enhancing benefits for lower-income earners and the very old, among other changes.

November 9, 2011

We hope all of our beloved and faithful readers have been following the conversation developing between us and some other experts, notably at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and at the Washington Post, over the past few days over how to reduce federal health costs while protecting the disadvantaged. It's a very important issue, and we thank these experts for joining in the conversation.

November 9, 2011

Today, CRFB board member and former budget director for Ronald Reagan, David Stockman, along with the former head of SEIU, Andy Stern, wrote an op-ed for CNN  entitled: "If even we can agree on a big budget plan, so can Congress." Pointing to their varied backgrounds, the two authors promote a "Go big" approach, calling for $4 trillion in deficit reduction that includes both spending cuts and revenue measures.

November 9, 2011

With the Super Committee deadline still two weeks away, President Obama seems to be unable to wait to get some savings on the board. Today, he signed an executive order directing agencies to reduce costs in five specified areas of their budget considered to include wasteful or unnecessary spending, to which they must make 20 percent reductions by FY 2013.

November 8, 2011

Today at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress and the American Action Forum, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on the federal government and Super Committee to go way beyond the $1.2 trillion in mandated savings to enact real reform. In his speech, he presented his own plan for how to control debt and to eventually balance the budget by 2021.

November 7, 2011

If the Super Committee fails, an automatic cut of $1.2 trillion over ten years (or whatever the difference is between the agreed upon cuts and $1.2 trillion) will be put into place starting in 2013. These cuts would be more or less across-the-board with non-interest savings stemming from defense and non-defense, though with notable exceptions.

November 7, 2011

As policymakers look to "Go Smart" in putting together a deficit reduction package, there is no better place to look than tax reform; and in particular, corporate tax reform.

November 7, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

It’s About Time – If you arrived to work an hour early today then you forgot to set your clock back this weekend. The opportunity to “fall back” and gain an extra hour of time is something that busy Americans can appreciate. If only it were so simple to move the debt clock back. What would we do if we could shave a trillion dollars off the national debt? Would we do anything different, or would we remain in our sleepy daze, like most of us did with that extra hour?

November 4, 2011

In his testimony to the Super Committee, Fiscal Commission co-chair Erskine Bowles floated a compromise plan which would, among other things, reduce health spending by $600 billion -- more than $100 billion more than the Fiscal Commission did.

November 4, 2011

According to The Hill, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled to Senate colleagues that he would be willing to support a $4 trillion plan. That sounds like a call for “Go Big” to us! This is a favorable change, given that earlier this week it was reported that he had favored a smaller $1.2 trillion package in savings.

November 3, 2011

Moody's issued a report the other day stating that failure by the Super Committee would not by itself cause them to strip the U.S. of its AAA rating, but that any outcome would factor into future ratings decisions. Essentially, failure can only hurt us, but success could greatly benefit us.

November 2, 2011

At the end of Tuesday's Super Committee hearing, Fiscal Commission co-chair and CRFB board member Erskine Bowles offered up top-line numbers representing a compromise between the Democratic and Republican offers to the Super Committee.

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