Pawlenty of Ideas – GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty gave a speech in Chicago on Tuesday where he laid out his fiscal and economic policy agenda. Among his proposals are reforming the tax code by eliminating many tax breaks (see our ideas for tax expenditures) while reducing tax rates. He also called for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S.
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?
With the release of the 2011 OASDI Trustees Report, there are a lot of numbers to digest, not to mention a few hundred pages to read (if you actually want to go through the whole thing). Fortunately, for our readers, CRFB has released its analysis of the report, which breaks down the important points.
Update: Chuck Blahous joined the debate today in a piece over at e21, setting the facts straight on longevity increases, the retirement age, and how exactly the Fiscal Commission's plan would affect retirement benefits.
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.
At 10:00am today, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Social Security reform titled "Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Social Security." Witnesses will include James Roosevelt, Jr. from Tufts Health Plan, Chuck Blahous from the Hoover Institute, Nancy Altman of the Pension Rights Campaign and the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, and Alex Brill from the American Enterprise Institute.
In Bloom – Spring is officially here, though the weather would have one think otherwise. Frigid temperatures and even a little snow in the Washington, DC area early Sunday are indicative of how Washington often seems to resist the trends. Yet the inexorable change of seasons is upon us. The snow is already gone and the Cherry Blossoms are blooming. The Cherry Blossoms are a uniquely Washington tradition, drawing tourists by the thousands to experience their beauty and the promise of renewal that they represent.
There have been a number of pieces lately that have offered perspectives on how to view the recent debate surrounding the Social Security program. Is it part of the budget or not? What happened to the money in the Trust Fund? Does Social Security add to the deficit? Different authors frame the debate in different ways, but many have come to the same conclusion: Social Security needs to be reformed -- and quickly.