The lead up to July 4th brought an exciting development in fiscal policy discussions: a commitment from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to use a "Blank Slate" approach in tax reform.
In a Brookings Institution piece, CRFB board member and former Representative Bill Frenzel (R-MN) addressed the next biggest item emerging on the Congressional agenda: tax reform and its relation to the national debt. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus and his Republican counterpart, Sen.
Today, on The New York Times' Economix blog, former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers and CRFB board member Laura Tyson discusses the possible benefits of enacting a carbon tax. Along with reducing emissions, a goal cited by many of its supporters, a carbon tax could substantially reduce deficits and simplify the tax code.
In an article from The New England Journal of Medicine, CRFB board member Alice Rivlin along with former Senators Tom Daschle, Pete Domenici, and William Frist, leaders of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Health Care Cost Containment Initiative, present a brief summary of their plan to strengthen the U.S. health care system.
With the G8 summit over and the G20 summit approaching, CRFB board member and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Laura Tyson takes a look at one area that has been discussed as being ripe for reform: our corporate tax code. Despite taking in less revenue as a share of GDP than many other industrialized nations, we also have the highest statutory tax rate of those countries.
At times, the fiscal debate can be confusing, as it is often set up as a simplistic contest between an argument for austerity against an argument for stimulus. However, the budget debate is much more complex than that, and many positions, including CRFB's, do not fit strictly into one of those two categories.
The recent revisions to the CBO projections improved our short-run outlook, a welcomed development, but they have also triggered a wave of overconfidence currently hitting Washington. The Center for American Progress recently called to hit the fiscal reset button and turn to other issues, which we showed would be a major mistake.
One of the most important truths to remember is that today's budget will not only define the decisions of today, but also to some extent determine the decisions of tomorrow. Because future members of Congress do not have a seat at the table, it is important to keep in mind the how the burden of higher debt will affect -- and potentially constrain -- future generations.
The new Social Security Trustees Report leaves us another year closer to the trust fund's insolvency and the takeaway remains the same - we do not have much time to waste.
With previously enacted deficit reduction and the economic recovery helping our short-term fiscal outlook, it may be tempting for lawmakers to put the budget on the back burner and turn to other issues. But this would be a clear mistake.