Economic Recovery Measures
Sometimes, the timing of things can really work out in Washington. Yesterday, President Obama nominated Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to be the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency in charge of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If confirmed, he would replace current chief Ed DeMarco in a move that could signal a policy shift at the FHFA.
Last Friday, the CBO released a report showing how much the business cycle has affected budget deficits since 1960. The report shows the effect that automatic stabilizers -- features of the budget that tend to automatically push up/down spending and revenue based on cyclical economic effects -- have had and what the budget would look like assuming that the economy is operating exactly at its potential.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved an additional $50.5 billion in disaster funding for areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy by a 241-180 vote. Congress had previously approved $9.7 billion for flood insurance. The Senate will take up the bill next.
Update: CBO confirmed our numbers today, finding a remaining fiscal contraction of about 1 1/4 percent.
First off, CRFB would like to congratulate President Obama and all of those who were elected and re-elected to the Senate and the House. CRFB is looking forward to continue working with policymakers from both sides of the aisle to help make deficit reduction a reality.
As the East Coast and other communities affected by superstorm Sandy begin the work of rebuilding and assisting those who need help, the CRFB and Fix the Debt teams are keeping everyone in our thoughts. Just as there are preparedness lessons we can learn from Sandy, there are very important takeways for the federal budget too.
As the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) continues to wind down, the biggest programs remaining are the support of GM and AIG. The latest estimate of TARP from CBO projected the two programs would cost $41 billion combined, larger than the $32 billion overall cost projection for TARP. That means the remaining elements of TARP have been a net gain for taxpayers.