A Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution is Not Necessary for Responsible Fiscal Policy

Submitted by jgordon on Fri, 08/11/2017 - 12:50
Many politicians and members of the public who are frustrated with the inability of Congress and the president to make responsible fiscal choices have proposed a seemingly simple solution:  Amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget. While the sentiment behind this idea is understandable, it would be very difficult in practice to compel a balanced budget each year, and attempting to enforce it through the courts would be all but impossible.

It's Easier to Correct Overshooting on Deficit Reduction Than Undershooting

Submitted by jgordon on Thu, 08/10/2017 - 11:33
A common excuse for inaction on federal deficits is that relative to the size of the economy, they aren’t abnormally large and are projected to stay that way for a few more years. Furthermore, current projections may prove to be overly pessimistic, the argument goes, so what reason do today’s policymakers have to act immediately?

Bipartisan Policy Changes Can Put the Debt on a Downward Trajectory

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 08/09/2017 - 13:11
When The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992, the national debt was on a sharp upward trajectory. Yet just five years later, Democratic President Bill Clinton signed legislation passed by a Republican Congress that implemented the first balanced budget in decades. By the time Clinton left the White House, the Congressional Budget Office was projecting a 10-year surplus of over $5 trillion and there was even discussion about whether the national debt could be paid off entirely.

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.