May 25, 2017

bbixby's blog

In Defense of the Congressional Budget Office

In recent days, there have been questions raised about the credibility of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). This is likely a pre-emptive rebuttal in case CBO produces politically problematic estimates of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) -- the House GOP proposal for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There is no reason, however, to doubt that CBO will apply its usual and critically important “objective, impartial, and nonpartisan” analytical standard in arriving at its AHCA estimates.

Trump's Troublesome Tweet on the Debt

President Trump’s Saturday morning tweet on the national debt left many budget watchers scratching their heads about its dubious factoid and irrelevant comparison.

Here’s what Trump said:

“The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo.”

The facts are accurate but meaningless.

Trump Needs a Wall of Fiscal Discipline

In an interview on Fox News last week, President Trump said that he would like to have a balanced budget “eventually,” but not at the expense of higher spending for the military.

Remembering Paul E. Tsongas

Last week marked a sad anniversary at The Concord Coalition. On Jan. 18, 1997, former U.S. senator and Concord Coalition co-founder Paul E. Tsongas passed away.

Twenty years later, his example and vision continue to guide us.

Upon his death, The Concord Coalition issued a statement about him and his legacy that we republish below.

What's Another $9.1 Trillion?

An amazing thing happened in Washington recently. With the total national debt about to top $20 trillion and on an unsustainable long-term path, 376 members of the House of Representatives voted for one of two Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolutions that would add another $9.1 trillion to the debt over next 10 years.

One version was passed by the House with 227 Republican votes. Nine Republicans voted in opposition. The other version was a Democratic amendment that was defeated with 37 Democrats voting in opposition.

$20 Trillion and Counting

Any day now the total debt of the United States government will top $20 trillion.

That eye-catching number should prompt all of us to reflect on what the growing debt means for future generations (a lot) and whether our elected officials have a plan to deal with it (they don’t).

The most important thing to recognize about the $20 trillion debt is that its size in dollar terms is not as important as the fact that it is on an unsustainable track.

Trump's Budget Nominee Will Face Daunting Math

In selecting Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) as his budget director, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen a strong advocate of balanced budgets accomplished through deep spending cuts.

Some Republican Leaders Encourage Offsets for New Proposals

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made headlines this week when he suggested that the

Republicans Are Sending Mixed Signals on Health Care

How the incoming Trump administration handles health care policy is perhaps the most consequential question hanging over the nation’s budgetary outlook.

That’s why policy analysts are scrambling to read the tea leaves on health care amid conflicting signals. Republicans seem to have one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brakes.

Debt Is a No-Show at First Debate

The first segment of the first presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump was dedicated to achieving prosperity.

That provided an opportunity for the moderator to ask about -- and the candidates to talk about -- their respective plans for putting the nation’s projected debt on a sustainable path. It’s hard to see how prosperity can be achieved, or long maintained, with a debt that is projected to reach unsustainable levels.

Unfortunately, the subject was not discussed.