The Bottom Line

December 15, 2011

This morning, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled their proposal to significantly change Medicare, one of the largest areas of the budget and one of the biggest drivers of our long-term debt. Rep. Ryan, who unveiled his own Medicare plan earlier this year, has joined with Sen. Wyden to craft a plan that would significantly improve the long-term fiscal imbalance. These lawmakers deserve credit for having the courage to propose specific reforms to help control rising debt levels.

December 15, 2011

A bipartisan group of Representatives has introduced the Budget Process Improvement Act of 2011 in an effort to provide "improved accuracy and transparency" to the federal budget process.

December 15, 2011
Teddy Roosevelt Redux?

On Tuesday, December 5, President Obama went to Oswatomie, Kansas, where Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 had made one of his most famous speeches. Democrats, the current president would have us think, are following in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt in pushing for higher taxes on the rich and temporary Social Security tax breaks for the middle class.

December 14, 2011

A few days ago, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) came out with a distributional and revenue score for Newt Gingrich's tax plan.

December 14, 2011

CBO has gotten into the infographic game this year with some good results. Two days ago they released an infographic containing a basic breakdown of the budget and historical trends.

December 13, 2011

Update: Sen. Lieberman's proposed legislation was introduced today. Click here to read CRFB's reaction.

December 13, 2011

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will discuss budget process reform today at 1 pm ET at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, a project of CRFB.

December 12, 2011

With so many provisions set to expire at the end of the year, CRFB has released a new paper that details what lawmakers have to extend and how they can do it in a fiscally responsible way.

December 12, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Happy Holidaze – The Christmas trees are up. The lights are lit. The shoppers are roaming the malls. The holiday specials are all over the television. The holidays are here and everyone is feeling festive, except perhaps on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are in a daze working through their legislative list and checking it twice. They want to wrap up everything with a nice bow on top by the end of the week, but partisan fighting threatens to Grinch up the works.

December 12, 2011

One of the most popular budget gimmicks in Washington right now is the war savings gimmick.

December 12, 2011

In an op-ed for The Atlantic, CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein made the case for offsetting the costs of the payroll tax cut, AMT patch, and unemployment benefit extension with the chained CPI. He argued that using the chained CPI, which is widely considered to be the most accurate measure of inflation available, makes both technical and budgetary sense.

December 9, 2011

This Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates will debate for one of the last times before the Iowa caucuses on January 3. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has several questions we would like to see the candidates answer.

December 9, 2011

Today, House Republicans have officially released their plan to extend the current payroll tax holiday for a year, two years of doc fixes, and a year of extended unemployment insurance. Encouragingly, the proposal joins the ranks of other plan presented over the past week or so in that specific offsets are also included to pay for the costs of policy extensions. CBO has also released a cost estimate of the proposal.

December 9, 2011

As we reported on The Bottom Line the other day, Republican members of the House released a set of 10 pieces of legislation they argue would improve the budget process. One of the bills, “The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act,” has bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

December 8, 2011

Ever since the three appropriations bills and the temporary continuing resolution (CR) passed Congress last month, lawmakers have refused to consider any other possibility besides passing the remaining bills by December 16, when the CR runs out. But is that changing?

December 7, 2011

Finding a way to extend the payroll tax cut, along with the many other expiring provisions this year, continues to be a dominating issue for Congress as 2011 comes to an end this month. A bipartisan proposal that includes a one-year extension of the tax cut was introduced yesterday by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

December 7, 2011

Today, the House Budget Committee released a budget reform proposal consisting of ten different pieces of legislation. The package intends to address many different aspects of budget reform, such as the budget process itself, budget concepts, and other budget-related items. Below is the full list of provisions as seen in the Budget Committee's press release.

Check back with The Bottom Line soon for analysis of these budget reform ideas.

December 6, 2011

Europe's worsening debt crisis--notably Italy's--should serve as a warning to the United States of what can happen to an otherwise steady, solvent economy whose debt is too high. In short, when debt gets so precariously high that interest payments become a very large budget line, debt markets can expand a slight decrease of confidence into a significant increase in interest rates. From there, the crisis can quickly descend into a national failure to refinance expiring bonds, and then possibly into national bankruptcy and default.

December 6, 2011

Breaking from traditional posts in our Spotlight on the States series, this blog focuses not on one state's budget, but on an issue that directly affects nearly every state's budget: the collection of sales tax from internet sources. For the past ten years, internet sales have skyrocketed as more and more shoppers take their shopping to the web.

December 5, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Bowled Over – The all-knowing BCS computers have chosen LSU and Alabama to contend for the college football championship. Both teams are familiar foes and perennial contenders. The same can be said of the budget battles that will cap the year. Yearly appropriations, the doc fix, and the AMT patch continue their dominance at the top of the political agenda, along with the payroll tax holiday, which has emerged as a powerhouse in recent years.

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