Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category

TheTaxVox 2013 Lump of Coal Award: Wait ‘Til Next Year Edition

Tax Vox proudly announces its seventh annual Lump of Coal Award for the worst tax and fiscal policies of 2013. The year was a curious mix of really bad ideas and dithering. After all, Congress’s finest moment may have been its December budget mini-deal—a decision that effectively ignored every one of the great fiscal questions facing […]

The Budget Deal: A Needed Time Out From Washington’s Fiscal Tantrums

House and Senate budget negotiators have reached what can only be called a temporary fiscal truce—if they can convince their congressional colleagues to accept it. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) hammered out a lowest-common-denominator deal that gives both parties two years of breathing room—and talking points. […]

Whither the Tax Extenders?

In three weeks, more than 60 expiring tax provisions will…expire. At least for a while. It isn’t unusual for these mostly-business tax breaks to temporarily disappear, only to come back from the dead a few months after their technical expiration. But this time businesses are more nervous than usual. Their problem: Congress may have few […]

Why the Next Debt Limit Debacle Might be Worse

Congress’s latest flirtation with debt-limit default caused barely a ripple in the financial markets. Rates on short-term Treasuries spiked in early October, before quickly subsiding to more normal levels. The spread between one- and three-year Treasuries temporarily widened, but quickly fell back to a more normal trend. All told, financial markets barely blinked. Unfortunately, the […]

How Washington May Turn June Into Fiscal February

For those of you keeping score, the Congressional Budget Office now figures the next showdown over the nation’s debt limit will occur in March, or maybe as late as May or early June. That means up to six more months of fiscal uncertainty, unless Congress decides to kick the can further down the road before […]

The Democrats Never-Ending Search for Tax Loophole Closers

Senate Democrats are circulating a list of a dozen tax “loopholes” they’d like to close as part of a budget package. It is unlikely that Republicans will agree to any of them except as part of broad tax reform, but it is worth taking a quick look at a few on their merits. Some represent […]

Can Expiring Tax Provisions Save the Budget Talks?

There is lots of buzz around Washington about whether a laundry list of expiring tax provisions could be the key to a modest budget agreement. Sadly, it is hard to see how.   The theory goes like this: Democrats might agree to some cuts in programs such as Medicare if Republicans swallow some new revenues. […]

Time to Fix the Budget Process

Congressional negotiators are trying to craft a budget deal by mid-December. Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square asked twelve experts what they hoped that deal would include. My suggestion: it’s time to fix the budget process: Odds are slim that the budget conference will deliver anything big on substance. No grand bargain, no sweeping tax reform, […]

As Budget Talks Start, Beware the Bogus Revenue Hikes

As House and Senate budget negotiators sit down (eight months late), the inevitable issue of new revenues has already raised its head. Predictably, Democrats insist that any fiscal deal include new taxes. Equally predictably, Republicans demand that it must not. But behind the scenes, Washington’s wink-and-nod crowd thinks it has a solution: Raise new tax […]

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 […]