The Bottom Line

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.

October 1, 2012

In a Project Syndicate piece, former Chairman of President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors Martin Feldstein reminds us about another idea to raise revenue from tax expenditures. Instead of going through each preference and figuring out the best course of action, it might be effective--and potentially politically easier--to cap the overall benefits taxpayers receive from tax expenditures.

October 1, 2012
A Look Back at FY 2012

Today, October 1, marks the first day of FY 2013, with FY 2012 now in the history books. Over the past year we have seen some setbacks, like the failure of the Super Committee, but also an outpouring of support from business leaders, former politicians and officials, and ordinary Americans that gives us hope for FY 2013. Let's take a look back at the numbers for the past fiscal year:

September 28, 2012

When we talk about tax reform which lowers the rate and broadens the base, the base-broadening portion of the equation usally focuses on tax expenditures. These deductions, exclusions, credits, and special rates are considered a departure from the normal tax code, and so a number of proposals have focused on reducing or eliminating them.

September 28, 2012

Two new Third Way papers by David Brown, Gabe Horwitz, David Kendall together present an arguement that we have been making for a while now—that the only way to fix our deficit is with a plan that looks at both revenue increases and spending cuts. Third Way explores both relying on a revenue-only approach (specifically taxing the rich), and then a spending only approach, with the results being not so good.

September 28, 2012

Fix the Debt co-founders and Fiscal Commission co-chairs Al Simpson and Erskine Bowles have been busy traveling around the country speaking with Americans about the dangers posed by rising debt and deficits. Yesterday at Wake Forest University, Erskine and Al laid out our fiscal math and the simple message that comes from it -- that future deficit and debt levels are unsustainable.

September 27, 2012

Today, the third forum of the "Strengthening of America—Our Children's Future" series was held in New York City on "The Challenges of Pro-Growth Tax Reform." Commenting on taxes as well as our unsustainable debt path were two panels; the first featuring notable economists Martin Feldstein and Lawrence Summers, while the second made up of business leaders—Honeywell CEO and Fiscal Commission member David Cote, CEO of SEI and Chairma

September 27, 2012

Efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have fallen out of favor since the attempted passage of a cap-and-trade program in 2009 and 2010. Still, the idea of a carbon tax or cap-and-trade remains out there as a way to both curb GHGs and raise revenue. A new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report discusses the pros and cons of a carbon tax and how it would impact households, the economy, and the debt.

September 27, 2012

In our newest paper, "Reforming the Corporate Tax Code," CRFB makes the case for why the U.S. needs to reform the corporate tax code, discussing its high marginal rates, its incredible complexity, and its relative inefficiency. Using data from the OECD highlighted in our paper, we can see how the U.S. stacks up with other countries.

September 26, 2012

If you've ever wanted to design your own corporate tax reform, now you can with our new Interactive Tax Reform Calculator.

There is no question that the U.S. corporate tax system is badly in need of reform, and leaders in both parties have been pursuing this goal.

September 26, 2012

The first presidential debate is now only one week away on October 3 at the University of Denver. With much of the first debate focusing on the economy, we look forward to hearing about how the candidates will tackle one of the most important economic issues: our rising debt.

September 26, 2012

In an interview with Charlie Rose at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner endorsed a "Go Smart" approach to the fiscal cliff and deficit reduction more broadly. First, he said that simply waiving all the policies in the fiscal cliff, even for a short amount of time, would not be a viable solution because of the message it would send to the public.

September 25, 2012

Yesterday, a group of six senators from both parties signed a letter to Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to help replace the sequester with a smart and bipartisan debt reduction plan. The letter, signed by the Senate Armed Services Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) along with Committee members Sens.

September 25, 2012

Last week, we featured a piece by CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein discussing one option to reduce tax rates while maintaining progressitivity and raising $1 trillion in revenue: eliminating the special rates for capital gains along with other deductions. In theory, a lower tax on capital gains might be preferred in order to incentivize savings.

September 24, 2012

Late last week, the Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) by a 62-30 vote to keep the government funded for the next six months with only a week to spare before the start of the fiscal year. The government will be funded at a $1.047 trillion annual rate through March 27 of next year, representing a 0.6 percent increase for each of the 12 appropriations bills over last year.

September 24, 2012

The United States Conference of Mayors has written a letter signed by 149 mayors across the country, a bipartisan collection including the likes of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The letter urges Congress to replace the sequester with a bipartisan, comprehensive deal that gradually stabilizes debt and puts it on a downward path as a share of the economy.

September 21, 2012
Debt Solution Must Be Bipartisan

In today's USA Today, Fix the Debt co-founders and Simpson-Bowles co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson write that each party can't just have its wish list in a debt deal—a solution must be bipartisan. The national debt will threaten our economy, our

September 21, 2012

POLITICO reported earlier in the week that the estate tax debate is re-emerging as the expiration of the 2001/2003/2010 tax cuts looms. The estate tax is only one small part of the extension of the 2010 tax cut, yet it appears to be one where the debate is the most jumbled. The two-year extension of the expiring tax cuts back in 2010 set the estate tax exemption at $5 million for 2011, indexed it for inflation (in 2012, it is $5.12 million), and set the top tax rate at 35 percent.

September 21, 2012

Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee held a joint hearing on tax reform and the tax treatment of capital gains. Base broadening tax reform with the payoff of lower rates is one of the key components of both the Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin plans. But in order to get the lower rates in a fiscally responsible way, everything must be on the table, and that includes capital gains. 

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