The Bottom Line

October 11, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden and Representive Paul Ryan (R-WI) will take the stage in Kentucky tonight at 9:00 PM E.T. in the Vice Presidential Debate. In the last debate, President Obama and Governor Romney spent a good deal of time in the last debate discussing fiscal policy -- though we hope each candidate gets more into the details tonight.

October 11, 2012

The CBO has released its newest estimate of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), showing that it would cost taxpayers a total of $24 billion. This is $8 billion lower than their last estimate done in March.

October 11, 2012

Tonight at 9 PM in Kentucky will be the first and only vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and candidate Paul Ryan. If this debate is anything like the first presidential debate, fiscal policy should be given a solid amount of attention, especially given Congressman Ryan's position as chairman of the House Budget Committee and Vice President Biden's involvement in debt ceiling negotiations last year.

October 10, 2012

Over the past few years, bipartisan agreement has begun to form around approaches to tax reform that take a broad approach to reducing or eliminating many tax expenditures and using those savings to both reduce tax rates and the deficit. Proposals from the Domenici-Rivlin Task Force and the Simpson-Bowles Commission were able to bridge the gap between both sides of the aisle on tax reform by following this approach. While everyone may have their own ideal way to solve our fiscal challenges, it's also important to consider what can actually generate bipartisan support and become law.

October 10, 2012

The use of dynamic scoring is one of the most contested issues in the budget world. We highlighted the pros and cons of using it and the issues associated with incorporating it into the budget process in a paper earlier this year.

October 10, 2012

Over at TaxVox, Roberton Williams writes about what will happen to tax rates under the fiscal cliff. Many economists believe that marginal tax rates (the tax rate on the next dollar earned) matter more than average tax rates (total taxes paid as a percent of income) in terms of the effect on economic growth.

October 9, 2012

In a speech at the National Press Club (video here), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) outlined his vision of how to change the tax code.

October 9, 2012

One of the criticisms of raising the retirement age is the belief that older workers delaying retirement may "crowd out" younger workers and cause higher youth unemployment. This theory, also known as the "lump of labor theory," is challenged in a new paper by Alicia Munnell and April Wu of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

October 8, 2012

Former Super Committee member and House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) indicated in a recent Bloomberg interview that the Simpson-Bowles plan may be a the basis of a debt deal that avoids the fiscal cliff.

October 5, 2012

Much of the focus of broadening the tax base in tax reform is on tax expenditures. However, as both our corporate tax paper and our corporate tax calculator showed, there are many base-broadening options outside of tax expenditures.

October 5, 2012

CBO's final Monthly Budget Review for FY 2012 came out today, showing the (preliminary) final estimate for the deficit that year: $1.09 trillion, or 7.0 percent of GDP. This figure is about $40 billion less than the $1.13 trillion deficit (7.3 percent of GDP) that CBO projected for 2012 in August and about $210 billion less than the $1.3 trillion (8.7 percent of GDP) deficit in 2011.

October 5, 2012
Debt Clock Still Ticks On

Former U.S. Comptroller General and CRFB Board Member David Walker has been busy traveling across the country on Comeback America's fiscal responsiblity bus tour. But instead of displaying a national debt clock, he prefers an alternative number, a measure of unfunded liabilities he calls the "Burden Baromenter."

October 4, 2012
Throwing My Hat in the Ring

Eugene Steuerle has a tongue-in-cheek post in his "The Government We Deserve" blog on why Americans should choose him as President after last night's debate. In it, he satirizes some of the more petty and political aspects of the debates and the 2012 campaigns more broadly.

October 4, 2012

Update: Clint Stretch at Capital Gains and Games sketches out possibilities for base broadening in Gov. Romney's plan.

October 4, 2012

We did our best to live fact-check the first presidential debate on Twitter, laying out the facts on fiscal issues. Of course, time constraints and the 140-character limit prevented us from getting to all the issues or explaining them all in full. Here's what we missed or want to clarify:

October 3, 2012

The wait is finally over. Tonight in Denver will be the first of the three presidential debates, and there will be an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about their plans to take on our federal debt problem.

October 3, 2012

The IMF's most recent World Economic Outlook has a very helpful chapter looking at six case studies on countries who have dealt with a high debt burden. However, unlike our "Fiscal Turnarounds" paper from a few years ago, not all of these cases are success stories (and only one case overlaps with our paper).

October 2, 2012

Yesterday the group Taxpayers for Common Sense released a report with over $2 trillion in deficit reduction. The report, "Sliding Past the Sequester," takes up the task of the Super Committee and puts forth a list of cuts to programs or measures that they deem are "inefficient, ineffective, or wasteful," adding up to $800 billion beyond the Super Committee's original requirement.

October 2, 2012

In the fourth and final event in the series Strengthening of America, "The Imperative of Entitlement and Health Care Cost Growth," former Members of Congress joined budget and health experts to discuss entitlement reform and controlling federal health care costs. As we've explained many times before, health care cost growth projections far exceed growth in all other areas of federal spending.

October 2, 2012

UPDATE: Tax Policy Center also has a video in which TPC director Donald Marron walks through their findings.

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