The Debate Over Earmarks

Submitted by swinn on Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:39

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating whether to revive the practice of earmarks after President Trump expressed support for reversing a ban that has been in place since 2011. The ban was originally touted as a way to crack down on wasteful spending and reduce budget deficits. But earmarks’ impact on the country’s long-term fiscal health has always been quite limited.

On Health Care Costs: One Small Step Forward, One Big Step Back

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:54

Last week brought consequential developments on the road to health care cost control.

On the positive side, the Trump administration unveiled a new payment reform model while the nominee for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary indicated a willingness to reverse course and allow a key type of cost-control experimentation.

Rising Concern Over IRS Funding After Years of Cuts

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:01

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson warns that budget cuts in recent years have significantly reduced the ability of the IRS to explain and enforce the tax code, a situation likely to result in greater confusion over the tax overhaul that Congress approved last month.

Worrisome Spending Estimates on Trump Defense Plans

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 01/08/2018 - 00:20

During the 2016 presidential election and his first year in the White House, President Trump often promised to significantly increase military spending. He sounded that theme again last month in releasing his National Security Strategy, saying “historic investments” were required to protect the country and advance its global influence.

As is often the case with big political promises, however, a fundamental question has been neglected: How will it all be paid for?

Washington Must Focus on Fiscal Sustainability This Year

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 01/02/2018 - 09:22

Elected officials in Washington know that the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, with the debt projected to rise rapidly over the next 10 years and beyond.

That would be true even in the unlikely event that the tax cuts approved last month were to stimulate the economy as much as Republican congressional leaders and President Trump have promised. Most economists, however, doubt the tax cuts will do so.

Peterson Photo
Tsongas Photo
Rudman Photo
John Tanner Photo
Mike Castle Photo