Halfway Through Fiscal 2017, Congress Still Figuring Out the Plan

Submitted by jgordon on Mon, 04/03/2017 - 15:14

Many Americans are no doubt struggling to understand some of the latest news from Washington about the federal budget. That’s because elected officials in Washington are approaching their work on the Fiscal 2018 budget with some long-unfinished business: They have yet to agree on most of their spending plans for the current fiscal year.

The Country Won't be Able to 'Move On' From Health Care Reform

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 03/28/2017 - 10:03

Despite the inclination to do so, policymakers will not be able to quickly move on from health care after last week’s defeat of the House Republican health care plan. There are immediate steps that the Trump administration needs to take to avoid costly problems in some Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces.

How Tax Breaks Boost the Deficit

Submitted by jgordon on Mon, 03/27/2017 - 15:00

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released an overview of certain tax breaks -- known as “tax expenditures” -- that can provide elected officials and the public with helpful information as President Trump and many lawmakers shift their focus to revamping the tax code.

“Tax expenditures, projected to total more than $1.5 trillion in 2017, cause (federal) revenues to be lower than they would be otherwise and, like spending programs, contribute to the deficit,” the CBO said in a recent blog post.

Debt Limit's Return Calls For Congressional Action

Submitted by jgordon on Thu, 03/16/2017 - 14:40

Today the federal debt limit will be reset at a level equal to the outstanding federal debt (roughly $19.8 trillion). The debt limit, which caps the government’s total borrowing authority, has been suspended since November of 2015.

No Shortage of Options to Repair Social Security

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 03/15/2017 - 14:52

As a result of our nation’s demographics, Social Security is on an unsustainable path under current policy and needs to undergo reform. Fortunately, there are many bipartisan options available to consider, as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently reminded lawmakers.

Fiscal Risks of House Republicans' Health Plan

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 03/14/2017 - 08:58

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) estimates that relative to current law the House Republican health care plan will decrease spending by $1,219.1 billion and decrease revenue by $882.8 billion, leading to a total deficit reduction of $336.5 over the 10-year budget window from 2017 to 2026.

While it is important to consider the projected loss of health insurance for 24 million people, this post will look at the numerous fiscal risks of the legislation.

In Defense of the Congressional Budget Office

Submitted by bbixby on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 08:42

In recent days, there have been questions raised about the credibility of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). This is likely a pre-emptive rebuttal in case CBO produces politically problematic estimates of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) -- the House GOP proposal for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There is no reason, however, to doubt that CBO will apply its usual and critically important “objective, impartial, and nonpartisan” analytical standard in arriving at its AHCA estimates.

Boosting Growth Through Fiscal Policy

Submitted by jgordon on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 14:43

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office published a blog exploring the role of fiscal policy in improving economic productivity. The subject is particularly interesting given how frequently politicians propose to pay for their agendas, be they tax cuts or spending increases, with dubious claims of improved economic growth. CBO identified four main fiscal tools that can actually result in increased growth through higher productivity:

Just Paying For New Programs Won't Be Enough

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 03/07/2017 - 14:14

In considering budget plans for the coming fiscal year, President Trump and lawmakers should keep in mind that under current law the federal government is already on track to run up deficits of nearly nine and a half trillion dollars, according to Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition.