November 29, 2014

Blogs

"Waking-Up" a Mile High

The Concord Coalition’s Fiscal Wake-Up Tour made its second stop in Denver on Thursday, drawing around 700 people of all ages for a day-long collection of events. 

Building Models and Guessing

I have written a lot in this blog about the Congressional Budget Office and their estimates (here is the latest example). Today, the Washington Post has another great article explaining the process.

Sorry, Congress. There’s (Still) No Way to Raise Revenue Without Taxing (Real) People

Well, it took a couple months, but those with a stake in health care reform have finally figured out that the idea of an excise tax on insurance companies instead of an any alternative tax on “real people” was no magic cure for the want-more-revenue-but-don’t-want-higher-taxes blues. From a story by Ben Smith and Patrick O’Connor in today’s Politico (emphasis added):

Inflation and the Economy, Debt and China

I spent much of the last week in San Francisco assisting our Northern California Fiscal Advisory Council in their discussions of the possible solutions to the country's fiscal challenges.

The Finance Committee Bill

The big news this week on the health care front was the release of the Senate Finance Committee's initial draft of its health care legislation. The big interest in the budget world with this development is that it marked the first complete reform legislation with a score from CBO that shows deficit reduction, not only during the 10-year budget window but also in the years beyond.

What is "Waste" in Health Care Anyway?

After President Obama's big health care speech this week, we have been talking here at Concord about how he makes it sound as if all we have to do to cut health care costs is cut the “waste” and “abuse” that no one should want anyway. That’s how he can claim his plan would reduce federal health spending without cutting any federal health care “benefits” -- because it wouldn’t cut any spending that actually “benefits” people.

"Insufficient Political Will"

Ezra Klein has a good post today discussing the problem with the costs of health care reform and how to pay for them.

What is "Plausible" for the Fiscal Outlook?

The first definition of “plausible” on dictionary.com is:

plausible
[plaw-zuh-buhl]

having an appearance of truth or reason; seemingly worthy of approval or acceptance; credible; believable: a plausible excuse; a plausible plot.

An alarm clock for Maine

Perhaps even more than most of Concord’s Fiscal Wake-Up Tour programs, the one in Maine this week underscored the need for a really big alarm clock.

The recession has sliced into the government's revenue while putting its spending on steroids. Concord Executive Director Robert L. Bixby offered the Wake-Up Tour audience of more than 200 in Kennebunkport a troubling factoid: last month’s federal deficit of $180 billion was larger than the deficit for all of 2007.

Not just "doom and gloom"

Speakers in the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour sometimes worry that all the bad news they are delivering may be leave audiences too discouraged about the country’s future. Too much gloom and doom, after all, could cause some people to simply throw up their hands in despair.

But while people who attended this week’s Wake-Up program in Kennebunkport, Maine, found the presentations sobering, they also seemed engaged and in many cases energized to seek solutions.

That was reflected both in the wide-ranging questions during the program and in comments from some audience members afterwards.