May 24, 2015

bbixby's blog

Five Ways the New Democrat Coalition Can Pursue Its Fiscal Agenda

The New Democrat Coalition, a group of 46 House members who describe themselves as the "pro-growth, fiscally responsible wing of the Democratic Party,"

Rule Change Could Start a Critical Conversation on Social Security

A looming crisis is facing Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) program: Unless Congress takes action, the DI trust fund will run out next year and beneficiaries will suffer an across-the-board cut of 19 percent.

Some advocates suggest that a “simple fix” would be for Congress to shore up the DI trust fund by reallocating a portion of Social Security’s payroll tax revenue from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance program (OASI). But this approach would ignore the fact that OASI has growing problems of its own. 

Tax Extender Debate Is a Case Study in Fiscal Irresponsibility

Lawmakers are now focusing on extending a series of tax provisions mainly benefiting businesses for one year after a much larger deal that would have added hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit collapsed last week.

The False Choice Between Deficit Reduction and Jobs

An interesting poll this month in the Des Moines Register shows that Democrats and Republicans have very different opinions on the relative importance of the federal deficit versus unemployment and jobs as campaign issues. It might be, however, that the two sides just have different ways of expressing concern over the same issue: our nation’s economic future.

Administration’s Updated Projections Show Little Change in Big Fiscal Picture

With the economy continuing its slow recovery, the administration’s Mid-Session Review budget projections released on Friday show little change in the overall outlook.

Bad Omens in This Year's Retreat From Hard Choices

Following last year’s bipartisan budget agreement, this was supposed to be the year of a harmless fiscal ceasefire on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, the ceasefire is becoming a retreat for fiscal responsibility.

‘Dead Men Ruling’ Examines Harmful Fiscal Legacy, Yet Offers Hope

A book titled “Dead Men Ruling” is not the place you would expect to find an optimistic message about our nation’s future. That is the case, however, with a new book from budget expert Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute. The critical connection he draws between renewed fiscal freedom and generational fairness casts the budget debate in a far more important context than deficit reduction for its own sake. This larger theme is one that The Concord Coalition has long embraced.

Budget Process Remains Stuck on Short-Term Focus

All dressed up and nowhere to go.

That’s the sad situation with the federal budget process.

We now have 10-year budget proposals from President Obama and the House of Representatives. They are quite different and would be very difficult to bring together in the best of circumstances. That doesn’t really matter, however, because there is nothing in the process to force a negotiation.

Fixing The Debt Limit Frankenstein

Like Frankenstein’s monster, the statutory debt limit will soon come back to life. It has been in a state of suspended animation since the October 2013 budget deal that ended the government shutdown.

The terms of that deal allowed the government to borrow without limit through this Friday, when the suspension period ends and the current debt level of about $17.3 trillion instantly becomes the new limit.