The Bottom Line

October 28, 2011

Rick Perry's tax reform plan has inspired a lot of discussion in the past week, but it left people wondering how much revenue it would raise. He recently had a consulting firm run the numbers on his plan using both static and dynamic analyses. Here we will focus more on the static numbers. In a perfect world dynamic scoring would be the way to go, but there remains too much disagreement on how best to do it. And the analysis memo doesn't give enough insight into its methodology for us to judge.

October 28, 2011

In addition to the letter from a large, bipartisan group of House members that is still being circulated for signatures, Go Big gained further momentum today as yet another bipartisan letter from members of the House of Representatives was sent to the Super Committee, urging them to

October 28, 2011

Last week the federal government announced that 2012 Medicare premiums will increase for most participants by $3.50 per month from $96.40, making 2012 premiums $99.90 a month. The percent increase is roughly equivalent to the 3.6% COLA increase for Social Security announced recently, but much less than the $39 per month amount of the Social Security COLA.

October 27, 2011

We talked yesterday about a roughly $3 trillion plan offered by Democrats on the Super Committee that would represent a "go big" approach to debt reduction. Now, the Republicans have made a slightly smaller offer, but one that would still exceed the Committee's mandate.

October 26, 2011

Two business groups today urged the Super Committee to not only approve of a deal before its deadline next month, but to also go beyond its mandate of $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade and advance a more comprehensive approach.

From the national business group, Business Roundtable:

October 26, 2011

Recently, there have a plethora of media accounts and interviews asking policymakers whether they believe the Super Committee will be able to achieve or even exceed its current mandate. Given the gravity of our fiscal situation, the real potential for another downgrade if lawmakers can't agree to significant reforms soon, and the unique opportunity lawmakers have right now, attention has rightly focused on the Super Committee.

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.

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