Tax Day 2015: Charts to Explain Our Tax System

In honor of tax day, CRFB and our partners at Fix the Debt released a Tax Day 2015 chartbook, with ten charts (and one table) that explain federal taxes – who pays them, what they pay for, and how they are collected.

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SGR Bill Triggers Several Rule Violations

We have described at length the fiscal irresponsibility of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) reform bill passed by Congress -- both its significant near-term and long-term costs and its exemption of the cost of the bill from pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules. Read our PREP Plan, which includes a permanent fix for SGR. While Congress always averts this cut, it has almost always been paid for with other health savings. Learn more in our chartbook.

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Q&A: Everything You Need to Know About a Budget Conference

This year, Congress made it a priority to pass a concurrent budget resolution. Both the House of Representatives and Senate passed their own budget plans at the end of March, and now they must work through the differences in the two budgets through a budget conference committee. Both chambers have appointed conferees to serve on the committee.  In this Q&A, we explain how this budget conference will work, and what it intends to accomplish.

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Update: Impending Fiscal Speed Bumps

Lawmakers will soon face a number of important budget related deadlines, or Fiscal Speed Bumps, that require legislative action.  Addressed irresponsibly, they could cause serious disruptions and/or add as much as $3 trillion to the debt over the next decade. But if dealt with thoughtfully, they offer an opportunity to pursue reforms. Click here to read the paper.

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CRFB's Blog: The Bottom Line

Earlier this week, CRFB analyzed a new plan from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that, among other things, would close about 60 percent of the program's funding shortfall.

What we failed to mention is that our readers could analyze this and other plans themselves through CRFB's interactive Social Security Reformer tool. The Social Security Reformer allows users to simulate an existing plan or create their own. Although the Social Security Reformer does not have every permutation of every Social Security policy out there, it has enough capability to understand the broad financial impact of most Social Security plans, as well as the impact in each year.

In an ode to former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and his work to shed light on government waste with the annual publication of his Wastebook, freshman Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) published Waste Watch No. 1 last week. It is the first publication in a series that hopes to expose areas where Russell thinks money could be spent more wisely. This installment identifies wasteful spending over the last few years in just ten government projects.

With the House and Senate preparing to go to conference to work out the differences between their budget resolutions, we published a paper Tuesdsay outlining the various budget process measures contained in the respective resolutions as well as our recommendations. Overall, both budget resolutions contain several items that could help or hurt the process, and we suggest that the budget conference hammers out these differences in line with the recommendations we've made in the Better Budget Process Initiative.

The House and Senate are going to a conference committee to reconcile the differences between their budget resolutions, but legislative developments may make reaching their goal of a balanced budget more difficult. Building off of the numbers laid out in their original budgets, neither the House nor Senate budget would get to balance by 2025 if you include the legislation that has already passed each chamber. Budget conferees have the choice of either requiring that savings be identified to offset these new costs, or making their budgets only add up on paper, ignoring real costs that they intend to pass.

 
June 4, 2013
CRFB's latest interactive tool "The Reformer" is a handy game that allows users to design their own Social Security plan. Users can select from a wide variety of benefit and revenue changes to make the system sustainably solvent. The tool then shows the effect on the program's finances and benefit and tax levels.
September 27, 2011
If you've ever wanted to design your own corporate tax reform, now you can with our new Interactive Tax Reform Calculator. There is no question that the U.S. corporate tax system is badly in need of reform, and leaders in both parties have been pursuing this goal.

CRFB Projects

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is dedicated to identifying practical improvements to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The SSDI Solutions Initiative is calling for academic papers on innovative ways to make the SSDI program better serve workers with disabilities, those who pay into the program, and the economy as a whole.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is an unprecedented and bipartisan coalition that seeks to mobilize members of business, government, and policy communities to urge Congress and the President to enact a comprehensive debt deal.

The Moment of Truth (MOT) project is a non-profit, non-partisan effort that seeks to foster honest discussion about the nation’s fiscal challenges, the difficult choices that must be made to solve them, and the potential for bipartisan compromise that can move the debate forward and set our country on a sustainable path.