November 20, 2014

Blogs

Happy New Year

Fiscal Year 2010 ended last Thursday but no one was popping champagne corks. Little wonder. For the second year in a row, the federal government ran a budget deficit well in excess of one trillion dollars.

Presidential Hopefuls, Take Note: Iowans Care About Fiscal Responsibility

In an op-ed article on Sept. 26 in the Des Moines Register, I pointed out that “…regardless of age, socio-economic status or political ideology, we are all affected by inefficiencies in our health system, irresponsible tax and spending policies in Washington, and snowballing government debt.”

I urged average citizens to become more engaged in the search for solutions to our fiscal and economic challenges: “Getting involved is the right thing to do. If we don't take action, who will?”

Senate Should Vote on OMB Nomination Now

When Congress soon leaves the Capitol for the campaign trail, a long list of unfinished business will likely be left behind. This year will mark the first year since the modern budget process was created in 1974 that no budget resolution has been passed by either the House or the Senate. Of the twelve appropriations bills necessary to fund the federal government during the coming year, Congress has not enacted one of them.

A Dubious Pledge

Last week, House Republicans offered a “Pledge To America” outlining their fiscal priorities and reform ideas. As with most such campaign manifestos, it is long on base-pleasing rhetoric and short on troublesome details.

Budget and Appropriations Update

Below are several developments we have been following since the last edition of the Washington Budget Report (sign up here) was published.

Those "Best-for-Nothing" Bush/Obama Tax Cuts

The media is buzzing about how House Minority Leader John Boehner and President Obama might be ready to "compromise" on what to do about the Bush tax cuts.  From a story by Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery in Monday's Washington Post:

New Report on Health Care Reform: Small Increase in Spending, Large Increase in Uncertainty

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently updated its estimate of National Health Spending. This unusual mid-year update, delivered in an article in Health Affairs, reflects changes due to the passage of the health care reform law in March, along with a few smaller legislative changes since then.

Getting Outside the "Deficit-Financed Tax Cuts Box" on Tax Policy

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."

A Little Joke About the Bush/Obama Tax Cuts

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.

New CBO numbers, and a "Concord Plausible Baseline" to go with them

Today we updated our "Plausible Baseline" to take into account the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)'s latest Budget and Economic Analysis.

Our press release, "Concord Coalition Says CBO Report Shows Need to Re-examine Fiscal Priorities," is here.