Looking Back 20 Years at the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 08/08/2017 - 10:15
This past Saturday marked 20 years since President Bill Clinton signed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA). The act was the result of an agreement with the Republican-controlled Congress designed to balance the budget by 2002.

Swift Bipartisan Action Needed on Health Care

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 08/01/2017 - 07:20
With the Senate’s failure to pass health care legislation in last week’s votes, Congress should turn to a bipartisan approach. This is needed both to fix the serious, short-term problems with health care marketplaces around the country and to propel health care cost-control initiatives over the longer term.

It’s Important to Distinguish Between Short-Term Cyclical Deficits and Long-Term Structural Deficits

Submitted by swinn on Thu, 07/27/2017 - 13:37
Not all deficits are created equal. In designing policy responses, it is important to distinguish between “cyclical” and “structural” deficits. Cyclical deficits are caused by a weak economy. Recessions drive down government revenue because many workers and businesses are no longer earning as much taxable income. At the same time, government spending rises because more people need assistance through programs such as Medicaid, unemployment benefits and food stamps.

Concord Coalition Denounces Assault on CBO

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 07/26/2017 - 15:26

The Concord Coalition warned today that the latest attacks on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) threaten to destroy its ability to provide policymakers and the public with nonpartisan, impartial analysis.

After months of denigrating CBO, some members of Congress are now seeking to slash the agency’s funding and eliminate its Budget Analysis Division through amendments to appropriations bills that are soon to be considered by the House of Representatives.

Trust Fund Accounting Obscures Fiscal Problems of Social Security and Medicare

Submitted by jgordon on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:10
Every year the trustees of Social Security and Medicare issue detailed reports on the financial status of these programs. While the trustees’ reports consistently warn that both programs face serious shortfalls, the urgency of this warning is often undercut by undue attention to the years in which the Social Security trust funds and the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund are projected to become insolvent.

Concord Coalition Expresses Concern Over House Budget Assumptions

Submitted by swinn on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 13:45

WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition is pleased that the House Budget Committee has voted to advance a budget resolution that aims to balance over 10 years, but is skeptical about the assumptions the committee makes to get there. However, establishing the goal of deficit- neutral tax reform is an important step and will hopefully act to promote real reforms that can increase economic growth while acting as a guardrail against large deficit-increasing tax cuts.

Doing Nothing is Not a Plan to Fix Social Security

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 07/19/2017 - 13:31
Social Security is the largest program in the federal budget, accounting for almost 24 cents out of every dollar spent by the government in 2016. The program consists of two main components: Old Age and Survivors Insurance, which provides benefits to 49 million retired individuals and their dependents, and their survivors; and Disability Insurance, which pays benefits to 11 million workers with disabilities and their dependents.

Making Health Care Programs Sustainable Depends on Controlling Costs

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 07/18/2017 - 12:38
Health care programs are the largest and fastest growing in the federal budget. These programs include Medicare (providing health insurance for older Americans), Medicaid (providing health insurance for lower-income Americans), the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and subsidies for individuals to purchase private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Currently they comprise almost 30 cents out of every dollar spent by the federal government.

CBO Analysis Raises Doubts on White House Budget

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 07/17/2017 - 11:36
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week published its official analysis of the president’s budget. When initially released, that budget purported to, among other things: balance within ten years, reduce the national debt relative to the size of the economy, and unleash real economic growth rates of 3 percent. The new CBO analysis casts doubt on these assertions.