The Social Security Administration announced on Friday that for the second year in a row there would be no cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits for 2011. Why not? As the SSA explains, this is a straightforward, non-political determination based on historical economic data:
The Obama Administration is now considering a new set of tax cuts, primarily aimed at businesses, to further stimulate the economy. It's reported that a permanent extension of the research and experimentation tax credit is one of these new proposals. This is just the latest sign that the Administration is stuck in its own "deficit-financed tax cuts box."
One of my Concord colleagues recently relayed the following "old joke" to me, remarking that a fiscal policy issue we had been discussing reminded him of it. But when he said it, it reminded me instead of a different fiscal policy issue (and my favorite): the Bush tax cuts and the impending "fork in the road" for them -- whether they will largely endure as the "Obama tax cuts," or whether they will be allowed to expire as scheduled under current law, at least partially and/or eventually.
Social Security’s contribution to the overall fiscal gap over the coming decades is smaller than Medicare’s, as the program’s trustees have again made clear in their annual report. If Social Security contributes so much less to the fiscal gap than Medicare, some people ask, why do we have to talk about reforming Social Security?
Last month I participated in a conference of mostly military officials and national security experts at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. The conference title was “Economics and Security: Resourcing National Priorities.”
The Obama administration has announced a very small effort to reduce deficit spending, and yet liberal groups are attacking them for promoting a policy that will kill the economy – or at least prolong the recession. And conservatives continue to argue that any “stimulus” spending is by definition “wasteful” – especially if they don’t get how a less-idle economy might benefit themselves personally.
A recent story on CNN-Money by Steve Hargreaves asks “What will BP really pay?” I think a more fundamental question to ask at this point is “What should BP pay? And should no one else?” As the story explains (emphasis added):
I have never been a fan of the Bush tax cuts. I’ve always felt they were too costly, too skewed to the rich, and did too little to make the tax system more efficient. Concord also warned about the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts before they were enacted and has since continuously said they should not be extended without a plan to address the nation's unsustainable fiscal outlook.
With today being the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (more commonly referred to as “the stimulus”), and President Obama expected tomorrow to announce his Presidential commission for deficit reduction, I’m hearing a lot of claims and rhetoric about what has “worked” versus what has not, and what has t