Reading the news these days, you might think our debt problem has been solved: the federal deficit has been revised downward and is falling to its lowest level in five years. Yesterday, however, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf made clear that he, for one, does not subscribe to that view.
Today, the Congressional Budget Office released a new report on Pell Grants which details the program and recent changes made to it, shows options to reform it, and possible alternatives to the existing program. Pell Grants are the largest of the federal governments' grant programs for higher education and are the primary channel for federal financial aid besides federal student loans.
The slowdown in health care spending growth in recent years has been a hotly debated topic, as experts try to figure out the source of the slowdown. Some have theorized that it is due mostly to the weak economy, while others have argued that changes in the delivery of care or other factors, perhaps in anticipation of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, have been the main drivers.
Nearly two weeks ago, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released its GDP report with a $560 billion upward revision for 2012. As we explained at the time, the BEA has adopted a new accounting system, which changes the way GDP is measured. Now R&D and artistic creation are accounted for as investments, instead of as immediate expenditures. As a result, GDP appears larger than under previous measurements.
Early this month, the Obama Administration announced that it would delay enforcement of the employer mandate penalty in the Affordable Care Act for 2014. The employer mandate would have required employers with 50 or more full time workers to pay $2,000 to $3,000 per employee if any of their workers did not receive an affordable offer from the employer and instead obtained subsidized health insurance coverage through a health insurance exchange. The first 30 workers are exempted in calculating the penalty.
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released two analyses, a cost estimate and an economic analysis, of the Senate's immigration bill -- S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The score is good news for immigration proponents, as CBO expects the bill would decrease deficits and boost economic growth.
The CBO released a paper today analyzing the distributional impact of major tax expenditures on the individual side of the tax code. Considering the tax reform efforts underway, the report is particularly timely as lawmakers take a look at the myraid of preferences in the law. The new analysis estimates that the 10 largest tax expenditures will cost the federal government $900 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2013 alone and $12 trillion from 2014-2023.