The Debt Limit Isn't Working, a More Effective Mechanism to Control Debt Is Needed

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 09/26/2017 - 15:13

With the national debt surging beyond the $20 trillion mark and Congress considering legislation that would produce even higher deficits than are already projected for the coming decade, the federal debt limit is receiving some much-needed scrutiny.

President Trump has suggested doing away with the debt limit, and some lawmakers recently introduced legislation to do so.

Clearly, the federal debt limit isn’t living up to its name, and we should stop pretending that it is.

The Broken Budget Process Should Be Refocused on Long-Term Planning

Submitted by ahunt on Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:42
The official federal budget process was established in 1974 by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. In practice, the process prescribed by the law has never been followed to the letter, and in recent years it’s been abandoned almost entirely. The broken budget process has resulted in policymakers applying quick fixes to avert artificial crises such as government shutdowns instead of making strategic long-term decisions.

Voting on Health Care Bill Without CBO Score is Highly Problematic

Submitted by jgordon on Mon, 09/18/2017 - 20:08

Republican lawmakers are trying to rapidly pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the Senate prior to the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30) so that it can still enjoy budget reconciliation protections and avoid a filibuster.

The “Graham-Cassidy” bill would convert the current health care subsidies from the federal government for the ACA and the ACA’s Medicaid expansion into block grants and would require states to create rules for distributing the subsidies.

Mandatory Spending Growth Means the Budget Debate is Increasingly Focused on a Shrinking Part of the Budget

Submitted by jgordon on Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:30
Federal spending can be divided into three main categories. The first category is mandatory spending, which is spending that operates on autopilot based on benefit formulas approved by lawmakers in years past. Mandatory spending makes up about two-thirds of the budget and includes major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Why the National Debt Just Hit $20 Trillion

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 09/13/2017 - 11:55
On Sept. 8 the national debt increased by over $300 billion, surpassing $20 trillion for the first time in history -- a symbolic reminder of the federal government’s flawed fiscal policy. But how exactly did we get to this point, and why was there such a sharp increase in a single day?

The Debt Limit is More Trouble Than It’s Worth

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:35
The original purpose of creating a statutory debt limit in 1917 was not to prevent the government from running up too much debt, but to remove the requirement that Congress authorize individual issuances of debt. The intent was to help ensure that sufficient and timely credit would be available to finance World War I. One hundred years later, things are very different. The main use of the debt limit now is to prevent the government from paying its bills on time, putting the nation’s creditworthiness at risk and threatening a global financial crisis.

A Tale of Two Deadlines

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:28
Two deadlines converge by coincidence this year. They are not related to one another and the precise consequences of failing to deal with them in a timely manner are different. Missing either of the deadlines, however, has the potential to do harm to the nation’s fiscal situation and the economy. There is certainly no good reason for provoking a standoff on either.

Tax Cuts Don't Pay for Themselves

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 08/30/2017 - 13:49
Some argue that cutting taxes will generate a level of economic growth sufficient to offset a substantial part, if not all, of the revenue lost. Under this theory, tax cuts do not cause deficits, but generate the growth necessary to reduce deficits. Yet, there is little historical or academic evidence from the past decades to suggest that tax cuts alone pay for themselves.

Washington Needs to Address All Our Needs, Young and Old

Submitted by ahunt on Thu, 08/17/2017 - 14:42

In this guest column originally appearing in The Keene Sentinal, Concord Coalition New England Regional Director Chase Hagaman contends that elected officials in Washington should quit procrastinating and seize opportunities to address our nation's fiscal challenges. 

"You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”