Budget Process

Blog Post

The Debate Over Earmarks

January 17, 2018

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating whether to revive the practice of earmarks after President Trump expressed support for reversing a ban that has been in place since 2011.

Blog Post

Everything Needs To Be On the Table in Budget Negotiations

December 11, 2017
When it comes to budget negotiations, many interest groups demand that certain items be considered “off the table” and exempt from any changes. The reality, however, is that everything needs to be on the table for both economic and political reasons.
Blog Post

Sequestration Is a Bad Way to Make Budget Cuts

December 07, 2017
To reduce budget deficits, policymakers must make politically painful policy changes by raising taxes on constituents and/or reducing spending on services provided to them. Because different tax increases or spending cuts of the same magnitude do not always have the same impact, policymakers should aim to make informed decisions that target these policy changes rationally.
Blog Post

Budget Process Changes or Trigger Mechanisms Can Not Substitute for Political Will

November 30, 2017
There is no shortage of proposals in Congress and in academia for improving the federal budget process. Given that the process has remained essentially unchanged since 1974, it may well be overdue for a facelift. Many of these proposals, such as biennial budgeting, could refocus lawmakers’ attention on long-term thinking. Others would create long-term fiscal targets and automatic mechanisms to enforce them.
Blog Post

Both Sides Are Guilty of Budget Gimmicks

October 26, 2017
Policymakers in both parties often want to take credit for responsibly offsetting the costs of popular tax cuts or spending increases, but without actually making the hard choices necessary to do so. That would require higher taxes or lower spending in other parts of the budget. So politicians frequently employ budget gimmicks designed to hide the true costs of their decisions. For our leaders to address the nation’s fiscal challenges, these gimmicks need to stop.
Blog Post

PAYGO is an Important Standard

October 18, 2017
Most people agree that current fiscal policies are unsustainable. It is thus a matter of common sense to require those who want to enact new tax cuts or entitlement expansions -- both of which would enlarge the structural deficit -- to put forward spending cuts or tax increases to pay for them. This is the simple concept behind PAYGO (shorthand for Pay-As-You-Go).