Report: Deficit Falls to $483 Billion, but Debt Continues to Rise

    MacGuineas: A Social Security ‘Fix’ That Falls Short

    McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Iniatitive

    Budget Simulator: Stabilize the Debt

Report: Deficit Falls to $483 Billion, but Debt Continues to Rise

 CRFB updated a new paper summarizing the Treasury Department's statement of the final FY 2014 budget deficit. According to the Treasury, the deficit fell to $483 billion, which is good news. But, both deficits and debt are projected to rise over the next decade and  beyond, with trillion-dollar deficits returning by 2025.


MacGuineas: A Social Security ‘Fix’ That Falls Short

 Social Security is on a path to insolvency and unable to pay full benefits by 2033. CRFB President Maya MacGuineas recently wrote a Wall Street Journal Think Tank article about the commonly discussed "fix" of lifting the $117,000 payroll tax cap so all wages are subject to the tax. She writes that, "even if we eliminate the cap–and there is a good case for at least raising it–that wouldn’t make Social Security even close to solvent."  

McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Iniatitive
Former Congressmen Jim McCrery (R-LA) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) launched the McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Iniatitive, a bipartisan effort to identify potential improvements to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The goal of the initiative is to provide policymakers with options to improve the SSDI program in advance of the its 2016 projected insolvency date.  
Budget Simulator: Stabilize the Debt


The long-term debt of the United States is rising to unprecedented – and unsustainable – levels. Everyone has an opinion on what should be done about America's finances. Here's your chance to try out your ideas. Use our budget simulator to "stabilize the debt." Read the blog.




CRFB's Blog: The Bottom Line

Underlying per beneficiary spending in Part D, therefore, has remarkably declined by an average of 3.5% annually since 2010. Even after accounting for legislative effects, Part A still grew at an impressively slow rate of 1.1% annually on a per beneficiary basis, but Part B spending grew closer to historical rates (at roughly GDP+1 percent per capita growth). Notably, though, as Peter Orszag pointed out, some of the faster growth in Part B could be the result of the ongoing shift to perform more services in the outpatient rather than inpatient setting (similarly, this means that the extent of the Part A slowdown might be overstated). Combined, per beneficiary costs in Parts A and B grew at just 2.5% annually from 2010-14.

October 30, 2014

As soon as the election is over, the lame duck Congress will be pressed to deal with several pieces of must-pass legislation before the end of the year, including their last chance to retroactively extend a set of tax breaks that have been expired since last year. These tax extenders are routinely extended for a year or two at a time without offsets so they add to the national debt, causing it to grow even more than already projected under current law.

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) released a survey last week (see video of CRFB President Maya MacGuineas at the release event) showing that a majority of Americans are willing to raise taxes – including their own – to preserve Social Security. Given the program's funding gap, it is an encouraging sign that Americans are willing to pay higher taxes to improve Social Security's solvency. Trade-off analysis, which NASI used, is an excellent way to get Americans to consider complex issues with pros and cons to all sides. Unfortunately, the design of the survey prevents the answers from being as useful as they could have been.

The last few months have seen a number of new ideas to save money in Part D of Medicare by encouraging more efficient use of drugs by prescription drug plans and beneficiaries. But Part D has also grown significantly slower than expected since its inception.

On this blog and in Health Affairs, we've highlighted the disproportionate role that Part D has played in the federal health care spending slowdown.


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.