As Congress returns to Washington today, the clock is ticking to September 30, the end of the government's fiscal year and the date after which the government will shut down unless a funding measure is passed for FY 2014. Only 9 legislative days remain before the end of the month.
It's the dog days of August and with Congress in recess, we can do nothing but wait to resolve some of the upcoming fiscal challenges that lie ahead. We have made some progress, particularly in beginning to seriously discuss tax reform, but overall, there is a still a tremendous amount of work that remains to be done in the fall.
As the Senate Finance Committee looks to take up tax reform, one of the higher ranking members on the Committee who will likely shape the process is Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who has already authored a bipartisan tax reform plan with Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN). In today's Oregonian, Wyden's predecessor, former Senator and CRFB boardmember Bob Packwood (R-OR) expains the need for a rewrite of our nation's complicated and ineffective tax code.
In the midst of our slow economic recovery, both the public and our Congressional leaders alike can too easily narrow their field of vision to solely short-term concerns, like our 7.6 percent unemployment rate and modest economic growth, or focus solely on long-term problems like our debt path. Some fear that Congress will ultimately end up choosing one or the other, improving today's economy or our long-term prospects.
Today, Fiscal Commission co-chairs and CRFB board members Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson published an op-ed in Politico reiterating their support for the Senate Finance Committee's "blank slate" proposal for tax reform. As we have explained before, the "blank slate" approach would start by removing all specific tax preferences from the tax code and require lawmakers to jus
Should Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) be trimmed? In a recently released CQ Researcher Report focusing on government spending, CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein answers yes, if that means that COLAs better reflect inflation.
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.