Fiscal Policy in the News
Crunch Time – The playoffs are well underway in the NBA and NHL. A playoff atmosphere is also brewing in Washington even though the home teams are not in the picture. A debt limit deadline and several teams competing for debt reduction glory are creating an air of anticipation and trepidation. Who will go home and who will go all the way?
As part of a larger deficit-reduction effort, last month President Obama proposed cutting $400 billion from projected defense spending by 2023. Speaking at a conference in New York yesterday, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said that the Department of Defense (DoD) must now find ways to cut spending without affecting overall defense capability and effectiveness.
No Deficit of Talk – At least there no longer is a deficit of discussion when it comes to our fiscal situation. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gave a major address Monday night to the Economic Club of New York where he said that increasing the statutory debt limit should be accompanied by spending cuts greater than the amount of the debt limit increase.
What Will Bloom This Month? – In April we were showered with fiscal policy developments: namely, a last-minute FY 2011 budget deal; a deluge of budget plans from across the political spectrum (see here, here, here and here ); House passage of a FY 2012 budget resolution; a major fiscal policy speech from President Obama along with a new fiscal framework; and a steady stream of budget process ideas.
Today, Comeback America Initiative founder and CEO Dave Walker (former U.S. comptroller general) and Concord Coalition executive director Bob Bixby published an op-ed in POLITICO. They write that the nation has some very difficult fiscal choices ahead, and that the only way policymakers will ever truly be able to put the big ticket items on the table is if there is greater public understanding of the nation's fiscal challenges and the kinds of significant structural reforms we will need to make to solve them.
The bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers hand-picked by congressional leaders had its first meeting today with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss a possible debt reduction agreement. In a statement afterwards, the Vice President said that the meeting was “productive” and that the working group will meet again on Tuesday, May 10.
Bumping Up on the Debt Ceiling – On Monday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sent a letter to congressional leaders saying that his department this week would begin the “extraordinary measures” necessary to stave off a U.S. default absent an increase in the statutory debt limit, which will be breached around May 16.
Wedding Vows and Vows Kept – Last week the royal wedding in England between William and Kate garnered a great deal of attention on this side of the pond. Meanwhile another union seemed to blossom in this country – the pairing of a debt limit increase with some type of trigger mechanism. Now, the word that Osama Bin Laden has been killed and buried at sea puts an end to the quest for the man most responsible for the 9/11 attacks and finally fulfills a promise to bring him to justice that spanned two administrations.
After the Bunny – Easter has come and gone. Chocolate-induced comas are being overcome and many -- though not Congress -- return this week from spring break. Are there still hidden Easter eggs waiting to be found? The debt ceiling and negotiations over a debt reduction deal will continue to be top items of interest.