Archive for the ‘Federal Budget & Economy’ Category

State Taxes and the April Surprise

In recent months, several governors have complained about the April, 2014, surprise in state tax revenues. They say they were shocked when personal income tax payments fell far below expectations. They shouldn’t have been. What happened? In part, in an effort to beat an upcoming increase in capital gains taxes, investors accelerated realizations into tax […]

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. […]

“Pension Smoothing” is a Sham

Pity House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp. He wants to rewrite the tax code in a serious way, but instead he’s spending his days trying to come up with imaginary revenue sources to pay for important spending priorities like rebuilding our crumbling highways. Tomorrow, his committee will consider a proposal to partially pay […]

President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget

When President Obama proposed his 2015 budget last March, he vowed to cut taxes for working class Americans while making sure high income households pay their “fair share.” New Tax Policy Center estimates show that, like it or not, Obama would do pretty much as he promised. Low-income households would enjoy a tax cut while […]

CRFB’s New Online Budget Simulator

Neither Congress nor the White House seem to care much about the budget deficit these days, but if you do, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has created an updated online budget simulator that lets you try to get a handle on fiscal policy. The goal of this online game is to stabilize the […]

U.S. Taxes Have Changed A Lot Since 1929

U.S. taxes today bear little resemblance to the taxes collected before World War II. Income and payroll taxes have replaced tariffs and excise taxes at the federal level while property taxes have become less important for state and local governments. And while the feds collected just one-third of all revenue before the war, they now […]

How “Dead Men” Fiscal Policy Is Paralyzing Government

In his new book, Dead Men Ruling, my Tax Policy Center colleague Gene Steuerle delivers a powerful indictment of the current epidemic of irresponsible fiscal policy. But Gene isn’t writing about deficits and today’s economy.  His focus is on the long-term political, social, and economic consequences of mindless budgeting that increasingly functions on policy autopilot. Gene’s […]

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 […]

Congress Fiddles While Bridges Crumble

It isn’t news that congressional Democrats and Republicans have agreed to spend the time between now and the November elections messaging, rather than legislating. When it comes to domestic policy it has only two real issues on its must-do list: Deciding the fate of 50+ tax breaks that expired last December and figuring out what […]

Tax Expenditures for Asset-Building: Costly, Regressive, and Ineffective

Most federal subsidies aimed at helping households accumulate financial and tangible assets are delivered through tax expenditures—spending through the tax code. In 2013, these deductions, deferrals, and credits aimed at encouraging such asset building totaled over $350 billion, most devoted to homeownership and retirement saving incentives. Yet, these tax incentives do a remarkably poor job. […]