Line Items

‘Line’ Items: Columbo Edition

Where Is Our Columbo? – Peter Falk, the award-winning actor best known for playing the rumpled, yet wily, Lt. Columbo, died on Thursday. Falk, who was an analyst with the Connecticut State Budget Bureau before embarking on a professional acting career, created an endearing and enduring character who used unique techniques to get the job done. Detective Columbo always got the bad guy using a brilliant mind and obsessive desire to tie up loose ends, all hidden behind a disheveled facade to lull the guilty party into a false sense of complacency.

‘Line’ Items: Golf Edition

Time ‘Fore’ Action – Golf, that favorite pastime of power players, was even more popular than usual in Washington last week. Not only did the U.S. Open bring the best professional golfers in the world to the D.C. area, but a powerful foursome also hit the links, perhaps linking fiscal policy matters to their conversation as they played their round. Yet, while the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland saw a dominating U.S.

‘Line’ Items: The Heat is on Edition

Except in Miami – The Miami Heat weren’t hot enough, but Washington saw record temperatures last week. Capitol Hill may warm things up this week as well as both chambers are in session together for the first time this month and the Biden group looks to pick up the pace of its debt limit/deficit reduction negotiations. CRFB will also add some sizzle with a big conference this week.

‘Line’ Items: French Open Edition

Clay Masterpiece – Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played yet another classic tennis match yesterday, with Nadal once again emerging victorious for his sixth French Open title. The distinctive red clay of Roland Garros produces slow-moving tennis characterized by long rallies and lots of spin on the ball.

‘Line’ Items: Dark Horse Edition

Not Rounding the Bend Yet – Like the Triple Crown field, the fiscal policy landscape is muddled with several solutions vying to break out from the pack (see a comparison of fiscal plans here). With the Gang of Six at an impasse, no dark horse is emerging yet that can take the roses. Fiscal policy is seemingly mired in the backstretch, moving at a plodding pace. With no breakthroughs expected this week, many are asking: when will we round the bend towards the home stretch?

‘Line’ Items: Playoffs Edition

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?

‘Line’ Items: May Flowers Edition

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.

‘Line’ Items: Two Weddings and a Burial Edition

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.

‘Line’ Items: Post Easter Edition

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.

‘Line’ Items: Tax Day Edition

Happy Tax Day – Today is about the consequences of procrastination for the great many waiting until the last minute to file their federal income tax returns. It is also the time when the most consideration is given to the costs and benefits of the federal government.

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