Archive for the ‘Deficit reduction’ Category

Latest House Debt Limit Plan Will Accomplish Nothing

Washington may be about to do what it does best–kick the can down the road. House Republicans have tentatively agreed on a plan to extend the debt limit for about six weeks while keeping the government partially shuttered. Their idea: use the shutdown as a stick to get Democrats to negotiate over “pressing problems,” including more […]

It is Never Good When the U.S. Treasury Gets Compared to Brazil

The other day, I was talking to a guy who closely watches Washington for big foreign investors. Like most of us, his clients are struggling to understand the debate over the fate of the debt limit. He told me about one investor who asked whether it would be considered a default if Treasury made its […]

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 […]

Could the GOP Boost Tax Reform By Adding the Idea to the Debt Limit?

House Republicans reportedly are considering several ways to add a framework for tax reform to legislation needed to increase the federal government’s borrowing authority. Could such a rider increase the chances of reform happening in the near future? Sadly, no. Indeed, it is likely to bury a tax code rewrite even more deeply in Washington’s […]

Is Obamacare the GOP’s White Whale?

 “The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them…All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up in the lee of things;…all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all evil…visibly personified …and made practically assailable in Moby Dick” […]

The Fed and America’s Debt

Is the Federal Reserve part of the government? You might think so, but you wouldn’t know it from the way we talk about America’s debt. When it comes to the debt held by the public, for example, the Fed is just a member of the public. That accounting reflects the Fed’s unusual independence from the […]

The Baucus-Hatch “Blank Slate” Approach to Tax Reform Could Be Revolutionary

No one quite knows what exactly Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) mean when they say they will rely upon a “blank slate” as the starting point for tax reform discussions. But done carefully and with political artistry, taking advantage of their unique power, Baucus and Hatch could […]

Immigration Pork

Do you think Congress really cares about the budget deficit anymore? Or that the age-old practice of buying lawmakers votes with local projects is really dead?  Just take a look at the Senate’s version of the immigration bill. Last Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office scored the Senate’s draft immigration bill as reducing the deficit by […]

Uncle Sam’s Trillion-Dollar Portfolio Partly Offsets the Public Debt

When policy folks talk about America’s federal borrowing, their go-to measures are the public debt, currently $12 trillion, and its ratio to gross domestic product, which is approaching 75 percent. Those figures represent the debt that Treasury has sold into public capital markets, pays interest on, and will one day roll over or repay. These […]

Uncle Sam’s Growing Investment Portfolio

The federal government has been borrowing rapidly to finance recent budget deficits. But that’s not the only reason it’s gone deeper into debt. Uncle Sam also borrows to issue loans, build up cash, and make other financial investments. Those financial activities have accounted for an important part of government borrowing in recent years. Since October […]