November 29, 2015


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,"

Hearing Draws Attention to Social Security Shortfall

A hearing by the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee last week drew attention to the impending insolvency of the Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund in 2016. While there were some disagreements, there was also a clear bipartisan consensus that something must be done to shore up the finances of Social Security.

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.

Defense Decisions a Priority on Lame-Duck Agenda

Part of the long to-do list for the lame duck Congress is deciding whether to authorize new spending for operations against ISIS while setting broader defense priorities in a constrained fiscal environment.

The administration recently requested an additional $5.6 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for Fiscal Year 2015 to fight ISIS.  

What the Ebola Epidemic Tells Us About Our Fiscal Priorities

Last Wednesday, President Obama requested approximately $6.2 billion to combat the Ebola epidemic. As Congress examines and debates this proposal, it is an important opportunity to reexamine our government’s budgetary policies.

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.

Despite Short-Term Drop in Deficit, Key Fiscal Challenges Remain

The administration trecently confirmed a bit of good news about the last fiscal year: the government borrowed substantially less than it did the year before.

But this drop, in line with a previous projection by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), is no reason for complacency. The additional borrowing has still pushed the federal debt to well over $17.8 trillion, and the government remains on track to boost that by $7.2 trillion or more in the coming decade.

Budget Exercise, Forums at Florida Schools Showcase Public Engagement

On a recent day in Florida, hundreds of people gathered to examine federal budget issues, question former members of Congress and push for sustainable fiscal policy. For me, that sparked hope for our nation’s future, even in the face of mounting federal debt and changing demographics.  

The Concord Coalition and Fix the Debt partnered with two universities and eight former congressmen on Sept. 23 to present the programs and to help give members of the Millennial generation a larger voice on fiscal issues.

It’s Time to Re-Think End-Of-Life Care

In 2011, Medicare spent $170 billion, or 28 percent of its total expenditures, on services for beneficiaries in their last six months of life. But a new report says many of these patients are not receiving the care they want and are undergoing costly and unnecessary tests, procedures, and hospital visits.