March 4, 2015

bbixby's blog

New Congressional Committee Must Put National Interest First

Members of the new Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction will have a threshold decision to make: Do they want to take their mandate seriously?

If the answer is yes, they will likely have to make decisions in the public interest that will not sit well with the party leaders who appointed them. If the answer is no, they will heighten public frustration with the political process and risk deep automatic cuts in programs many of them care about.

Which should it be?

Debt-Limit Deal Avoids Default But Does Not Solve Fundamental Fiscal Problems

In this debt-limit game of musical chairs, the music has stopped and it’s time to grab a seat. The only one available is the deal worked out by congressional leaders and the Obama administration over the weekend. It is not a solution to our nation’s fiscal problems and is far from the “grand bargain” needed to put us on a sustainable path. However, a debt-limit deal needs to get done. This one at least avoids a self-inflicted wound caused by the government’s defaulting on its obligations, and it gives proponents of a grand bargain another turn at bat.

A Better Way Out of the Stalemate

The partisan vortex in Washington is now so strong that it threatens to swallow all rational thought.

Go Long

 

This originally appeared on The American Square at http://theamericansquare.org/profiles/blogs/go-long

Can't Get There From Here

The punch line of an old joke aptly describes the status of budget negotiations in Washington: you can’t get there from here. It’s not the “there” that is the problem; it’s the “here.”

Broad bipartisan consensus exists on two points. The first is that the debt limit must soon be raised to avoid a default in one form or another. The second is that current fiscal policy cannot be sustained. Missing from the equation is any solid evidence that political leaders are prepared to do what is necessary to solve either problem.

Trustees' New Projections Show Why Entitlement Reform Can't Wait

Related Media: 
See video

Anyone wondering why Social Security and Medicare should be “on the table” in budget negotiations need look no further than the 2011 Trustees’ Report issued on May 13.

The President's Debt Tour: "Game On" but to What End?

House Republicans have adopted a budget they say will make tough but necessary spending cuts to rein in our nation’s burgeoning budget deficits. President Obama says the Republican plan is too radical. He hit the road last week to sell his own deficit reduction plan, which he says is more balanced.

So, it’s “game on.”

But just what is the purpose of this game?

Let's Look at How We Spend, Not Just How Much

Related Media: 
See video

Here is a trivia question: Under which scenario would Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up the larger share of non-interest (i.e. “primary”) federal government spending?

A. President Obama’s budget

A Budget Debate Three Stooges Style

Related Media: 
See video

Moe, Larry and Curly are fighting in the back seat of the car. No one is in the driver’s seat. As the boys settle down, Curly looks up and says, “Hey, don’t look now but we’re about to be killed.”

Leave it to The Three Stooges to provide the perfect metaphor for what passes as a budget debate in Washington these days.

It appears that we’re headed for a government shutdown in April and a possible default in May all because politicians can’t stop squabbling over a few billion dollars from a small slice of the budget while our overall fiscal policy is headed for a cliff.

Social Security Cash Deficits are Here to Stay

A flurry of commentary greeted the unsurprising news last week that Social Security is paying out more than it is taking in. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Social Security cash deficit for 2010 was $37 billion and will rise to $45 billion this year. The one-year payroll tax holiday enacted in December would actually leave the 2011 deficit much larger ($130 billion), but general revenues will be credited to Social Security to make up for the loss of payroll tax income.