Archive for the ‘Deficit reduction’ Category

Forgotten but Not Gone: The Long-Term Fiscal Imbalance

Over the past few years, the long-term fiscal situation has improved. With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (in early January, 2013), the Budget Control Act of 2011, the subsequent imposition of sequestration, and slowdowns in projections of health care expenditures, there have been a variety of sources of improvement. In […]

The Cruel Political Paradox of Deficit Reduction

I was chatting the other day with a fellow budget wonk who noted the cruel paradox of fiscal politics: When the economy is bad, deficits rise and the public support for reducing them grows. Yet a poor economy is the worst possible time to raise taxes and cut spending. By contrast, a period of strong growth […]

Pay to Extend Unemployment Benefits? Why Not Pay to Extend Temporary Tax Breaks Too?

In the battle over whether to extend long-term unemployment benefits, one of the Republican talking points is: Sure, we’ll consider an extension, but it must be paid for. That’s a fine idea. Here’s another: In exactly the same way, Congress should offset the cost of restoring dozens of temporary tax breaks that expired on Dec. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Congress Shouldn’t Forget About Tax Entitlements In Its Search for Deficit Reduction

Yesterday, Washington Post columnist Bob Samuelson urged lawmakers to “just eliminate…the whole notion of entitlements.”  His provocative argument: The very word “entitlement” makes people believe these programs are somehow untouchable. They are, for instance, effectively exempt from the sequester’s cuts even though they represent two-thirds of all government spending. Bob is on to something but he […]

One Modest Path to a No-Drama Budget Deal

The conventional wisdom is that next January, Congress and President Obama will be in exactly the same place they’ve been for most of the past three weeks—deep in government shutdown mode. The argument: The recent fiscal battles that ended with last night’s short-term deal to reopen the government and reauthorize Treasury borrowing  buys time but […]

The Un-Default: Congress Has Become A Seinfeld Episode

Like Seinfeld, the classic 1990s TV comedy, Congress is increasingly about…nothing. If the agreement reached by Senate leaders this afternoon sticks (and given recent history, even that is uncertain) Congress has just shuttered much of the federal government for more than two weeks and risked a market-shattering federal default in order to convene a meeting […]

The U.S.May Not Default on Friday But Washington Is Still Playing A Dangerous Game

What’s going to happen on October 18 if Congress doesn’t vote to increase the debt limit? Probably nothing. Make no mistake, Washington is still wading in exceedingly treacherous waters as the President and Congress wrestle over a deal to avoid–at least for now—a breach of the nation’s borrowing authority. The government risks financial calamity if […]