Author Archive

Six Takeaways from CBO’s New Long-Term Budget Outlook

The newest Congressional Budget Office long-term budget outlook, released today, is more evidence that the long-term federal budget problem may be forgotten, but it is not gone. Here are six takeaways. 1. The size of the budget deficit today isn’t a problem, and it’s not much of a problem for the next few years either. […]

A Permanent Slowdown In Health Care Spending Growth Would Ease, But Not End, the Fiscal Problem

Rapidly growing health care costs have been a major driver of actual and projected federal budget deficits and the national debt. In recent years, the rate of growth in medical spending has slowed, leading many to ask whether a permanent decline could solve the nation’s long-term fiscal problem. Along with University of California at Berkeley […]

Dave Camp’s pitch to overhaul U.S. taxes: An impossible dream?

Unlike many previous Republican proposals to cut taxes, the Michigan congressman specifies how government would pay for them. This is critical, but it’s not pretty. On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, unveiled an ambitious plan to overhaul America’s complicated tax code. This is both a technical […]

The Year in Taxes: From the Fiscal Cliff to Tax Reform Talks

The year in taxes started with the nation toppling, briefly, over the fiscal cliff. And it ended with some interesting policy proposals on tax reform though little political progress. Remember the fiscal cliff? While that crisis was resolved on New Year’s Day, it really began in 2001, when President George W. Bush signed the Economic […]

The Illogic of the McConnell Debt Limit Rule

In the aftermath of the recent government shutdown and the painful negotiations that brought the country perilously close to defaulting on government debt, policy experts are searching for a way to avoid a replay of this crisis. After all, the recent congressional agreement only delays the next potential shutdown till January 15 and lifts the […]

It’s Groundhog Day Over the Debt Ceiling

If you recently heard the news that Congress is debating the merits of raising the debt ceiling, don’t think you have time-traveled back to 2011 or to 2012. In the absence of Congressional action, and barring some extraordinary measures, the debt ceiling is set to be breached sometime in the next several weeks, and the […]

Tax Policy Should Consider New Business, Not Small Business

Small businesses occupy an iconic place in the public policy debate and benefit from a broad range of tax and spending subsidies. But the economic issues surrounding small businesses and innovation are complex and nuanced, and not well understood.  We are learning, however, that  if Congress wants to encourage risk-taking, it may be better off […]

A Carbon Tax is a Win-Win for the Economy and the Environment

Looking for a way to improve the operation of the economy, lower our dependence on foreign oil, reduce pollution, slow global warming, cut government spending, and decrease the long-term budget deficit? Then you should support a carbon tax, which could help the nation address all these issues simultaneously. A new paper I’ve written with Samuel […]

What You Should Know About the Budget Outlook

The Congressional Budget Office released its latest Budget and Economic Outlook earlier this week.  As always, the Outlook provides insight into the fiscal status of the federal government. My three overarching reactions are: First, because American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) instituted tax changes that had been widely expected, the official (“current law”) baseline is now much […]

Ryan Would Shift the Fiscal Burden to Low and Middle-Income Households

The budget proposal House Budget Committee Chairman  Paul Ryan (R-WI) released last week  is, essentially, an effort to have low- and middle-class households bear the entire burden of closing the fiscal gap and bear the costs of financing an additional tax cut for high income households.  The Tax Policy Center (which I co-direct) analyzed the […]