Budget Process Primer

Submitted by jgordon on Thu, 05/11/2017 - 13:31

The official federal budget process was established in 1974 by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. The budget process begins in February, when the president is supposed to submit his plan to Congress after discussions with federal department and agency leaders about their needs. The president’s budget is simply a recommendation to the legislative branch, which under the Constitution has the “power of the purse" to make decisions about funding.

Taxes Primer

Submitted by jgordon on Thu, 05/11/2017 - 13:30

The United States tax system is inefficient, overly complex and does not raise enough revenue to keep pace with federal spending. The gap between tax revenue and federal spending is projected to get worse in the coming years due to the effects of our aging population and rising health care costs pushing up the cost of spending programs. Whatever disagreements there may be about the appropriate size of the federal government, the “correct” level of revenue is that which adequately covers the cost of government spending.

Almost Forgotten: The 2018 Budget Process

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 05/09/2017 - 15:54

Amid all the debate in Washington on health care, taxes and other things, the congressional budget process for the coming year is already behind schedule and seems to have almost been forgotten.

Congress has yet to even consider a Fiscal 2018 budget resolution, despite a statutory deadline of April 15 for having one in place. The congressional budget committees are still reportedly weeks away from even getting down to business on preparation of a resolution.

GAO Suggests Steps to Improve Government Efficiency

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 05/09/2017 - 15:52

Attacking waste is no panacea for the federal government’s fiscal problems. Those problems are simply too large, and in any case there are often political differences over whether a particular project is a waste or an important public service.

But a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a reminder that there are still opportunities for significant savings and efficiency increases in many parts of the federal government.

Social Security Primer

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 05/03/2017 - 10:57

Social Security is the largest program in the federal budget. It provides monthly income to over 60 million Americans -- most of whom depend on it as their largest source of retirement income. That spending is financed by a tax on worker wages. As the population ages, more people will become eligible for Social Security relative to the workers left in the workforce paying taxes.

Tax Cuts in Context: This Isn't 2001

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 05/02/2017 - 15:48

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, chairman of President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, unveiled a one-page document that laid out the administration’s priorities for tax reform. While a document with such little detail could hardly be considered a “tax reform plan,” it is nonetheless instructive to look at how tax changes along the lines of what the administration is seeking could impact the nation’s already-large deficits.

U.S. Congress Needs to Do Its Job

Submitted by jgordon on Sun, 04/30/2017 - 15:16

In a recent op-ed, Chase Hagaman, regional director of The Concord Coalition, and Alex Talcott, a member of Concord's New Hampshire advisory board, explain why Congress should wrap up the disappointing budget process of Fiscal 2017, removing the risk of a government shutdown and clearing the decks for work on next year’s budget. This article appeared in the Seacoast Sunday, the combined Sunday paper for the Portsmouth Herald and Foster's Daily Democrat in New Hampshire.

Massive Tax Cuts Won't Reduce Massive Debt

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 04/26/2017 - 10:11

WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition expressed concern with President Trump’s new tax plan today, saying the administration has not shown how it could be financed without substantially increasing the federal debt.

“While the proposal lacks specificity, what was released today looks like a revenue loss plan more than a tax reform plan,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “It is inconceivable that a tax cut of this magnitude could pay for itself through economic growth.”

Widespread Concerns About Fairness of Tax System

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 15:46

Many elected officials in both parties have long called for tax reform, although they often differ on what tax-related issues need to be addressed.

As President Trump and members of Congress consider tax proposals to pursue this year, a new national survey by the Pew Research Center may provide some useful information -- and perhaps a surprise or two -- on what taxpayers themselves think about the tax system.

Congress Must Act This Week to Avoid Partial Shutdown

Submitted by jgordon on Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:44

Congress is again down to the wire on spending legislation for the current fiscal year, which is already half over. Returning to Washington after a 2-week recess, lawmakers need to take action before a stop-gap measure expires at midnight on Friday.

The alternative would be a shutdown for much of the government, wasting tax dollars and further diminishing public confidence in elected officials’ ability to take care of their fundamental budgetary responsibilities.