Debt Warnings Based on Experience

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 07/23/2018 - 14:06

Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner played central roles in dealing with the financial crisis 10 years ago that stunned the nation and threatened economic disaster.

The three former policymakers recently discussed some of the lessons to be learned from that crisis and how the country could best protect itself from similar crises in the future. While it was a wide-ranging discussion, all three men warned that rising federal debt posed a particularly worrisome vulnerability to the country.

A Bipartisan Push for IRS Improvements

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 07/23/2018 - 09:03

In a welcome show of bipartisan cooperation, lawmakers appear to be moving forward on IRS legislation that they say would help taxpayers, reduce tax-refund fraud and improve tax-collection efforts.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the panel’s ranking member, introduced the Senate bill last week. Many of its provisions are similar to those in legislation the House approved with overwhelming bipartisan votes last spring.

'Facing the Future' to Feature N.H. Congressional Candidates

Submitted by swinn on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 11:39

The Concord Coalition will present individual interviews with New Hampshire congressional candidates on federal budget issues over the next few weeks on “Facing the Future,” its weekly radio show and podcast.

Republican and Democratic candidates in the First and Second Congressional Districts will be asked about federal deficits, health care, taxes, defense spending, Social Security and other domestic spending programs.

Safety-Net Cuts Won’t Solve U.S. Fiscal Problems

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:19

When politicians start talking about spending cuts, they can be quick to focus on a group of federal programs -- often described loosely as “welfare” -- that provides benefits to individuals and families based on need.

These and some other programs -- notably Social Security and Medicare -- are labeled “mandatory,” meaning their spending does not require annual approval from Congress. These program’s spending levels each year depend on how many people are eligible for their benefits.

White House Boosts Its Proposed Deficits

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 07/16/2018 - 22:34

The Trump administration’s new budget update shows the federal deficit rising to $890 billion for the current fiscal year and soaring well past $1 trillion in Fiscal 2019 -- despite the administration’s overly optimistic economic projections and its proposed spending cuts that are unlikely to actually occur.

Elected Leaders, It's Irresponsible to Ignore the Debt

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 07/16/2018 - 21:53

“It is totally irresponsible that nobody is focusing on the debt, because it is our biggest problem,” said former Congressman Chris Shays.

Shays joined me on “Facing the Future” to discuss how being a candidate and a member of Congress have changed since he first took office in 1987. Shays, a Republican, represented Connecticut’s Fourth District until 2009.

You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:22

The latest episode of Facing the Future is all about you, our listeners. The Concord Coalition’s Executive Director Robert L. Bixby and Policy Director Josh Gordon answered questions submitted via e-mail and social media.

One listener submitted a question through Facebook concerning the different measurements of the national debt.

“The two main measures of the debt, in terms of dollar figures, are the ‘debt held by the public’ and what we call ‘the gross federal debt’,” said Gordon.

Economic Uncertainties Require a Margin for Error

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 07/09/2018 - 16:39

By Rob Ryan

The state of the economy is a crucial determinant of the federal budget outlook. Even slight changes in key economic indicators can lead to major shifts in federal revenues and outlays.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) outlined economic uncertainties and their potential fiscal impacts in its recent report, “How Changes in Economic Conditions Might Affect the Federal Budget.”

Don't Hesitate: Change the Status Quo

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 07/03/2018 - 09:27

“When you are in power... you are hesitant to change the status quo because you don’t know what the consequences may be,” said former U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass.

A Troubling Trend in Federal Investment Spending

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 07/02/2018 - 14:01

Introduction

Recent reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have reiterated long-standing warnings that the federal budget suffers from a growing structural gap between projected spending and revenues. If left unaddressed, this structural gap will push deficits and debt to unsustainable levels.