The last Congress attempted to work out a new farm bill but could never reach an agreement. The American Taxpayer Relief Act, the agreement reached after the fiscal cliff negotiations, only extended the 2008 farm bill for another year. With another expiration of the farm bill at the end of FY 2013, it remains and bipartisan priority to restructure the way government provides farm support.
Analyses of the CBO budget baseline generally focus on the current law baseline, the one that CBO presents in most detail. In the past, we constructed a CRFB Realistic baseline to account for many policies scheduled to expire/happen in current law that we thought were unrealistic. The Realistic baseline showed a much worse fiscal outlook than the current law baseline.
In CBO’s latest Budget and Economic Outlook, much has changed since their August baseline. As we explain in our report on the February baseline, the majority of change results from the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). However, there are several other legislative, technical, and economic revisions that for the most part cancel each other out but are still worth highlighting.
On the same day they released their February Baseline projection, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a companion report on Macroeconomic Effects of Alternative Budgetary Paths. The report estimates the effects on the economy of different fiscal paths.
CBO's release of its annual Budget and Economic Outlook is a treasure trove of information, sometimes not easily digestible.
To help put all that information in a more accessible form, CRFB released a brief 6 page analysis of CBO's new economic and budget projections, which are first official look at future budget projections in light of the fiscal cliff deal and other developments.
For 49ers and Ravens fans, the Super Bowl was the big game of the 2012 NFL season. For budget wonks, today is that day, as CBO has released its budget and economic projections. These projections show what we previously thought, that debt is on an upward path as a percent of GDP under CBO's current law and Alternative Fiscal Scenario projections.
Yesterday, CBO issued a report on refundable tax credits, examining many issues involved with the credits. The first refundable credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, was created in 1975 to offset the payroll tax for low-income people. The number of refundable credits has increased to a high of 11 different credits in 2010, and 5 currently. The cost of these tax expenditures has also risen, reaching a high of $238 billion (in 2013 dollars) in 2008 due to many economic stimulus measures before falling to $150 billion this year.
Our recent blog "Putting the Debt on a Downward Path" emphasizes how changes in economic projections can affect the budget for better or for worse.
With all the attention on the fiscal cliff looming only weeks away, the fact that the federal government will hit the debt ceiling in the next few months appears to be on the back burner. At the same time, it's hovering over current negotiations, which is why some lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), would like to see the issue resolved at the same time as a cliff deal.