Archive for the ‘Federal Budget & Economy’ Category

House Republicans Punt on Tax Reform

The House Republican budget, released today by Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), kicks the tax reform can down the road yet again. Not only does it fail to enhance chances for a tax code rewrite, it almost certainly sets the effort back. This budget isn’t so much an actual fiscal plan (the framework for […]

Fiscal Reality Check: Will Congress Pay for the Tax Extenders and the Doc Fix?

After it returns from Spring Break next week, Congress may face two big fiscal reality checks. It will have to decide whether to temporarily extend scores of expiring tax provisions and what to do about permanently adjusting the formula Medicare uses to pay physicians (the “doc fix”). Combined, these two measures would add about $65 billion to the […]

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 […]

A Tale of Three Agendas: Obama, Camp, and Ryan

Over the past week, three senior Washington lawmakers released foundational documents that describe both their agendas and their perspectives on government. On one level, they paint vastly different pictures. Yet, a close reading also pinpoints some surprising and important areas of agreement—more perhaps than the players would publicly admit. President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget […]

Individual Income Taxes May Soon Generate Half of All Federal Tax Revenue

Over the next decade, the individual income tax will be the fastest growing source of federal revenue, according to new estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. In fact, the individual income tax will pretty much be the only revenue source likely to increase significantly over the next decade.  As a result, it will generate more […]

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 […]

Federal Job Cuts Are Not Just Biting Inside the Beltway

Government employment is down again. But while cuts in state and local jobs drove the decline in 2011 and 2012, the federal government is the culprit now. The federal workforce has decreased about 3 percent, or 75,000 positions, from last year. That’s in sharp contrast to the slightly positive growth (0.3 percent) for the state […]

Variation in EITC Take-up, County by County

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of our nation’s most effective anti-poverty policies, bringing 10.1 million families out of poverty in 2012. The EITC is designed to reward work by increasing wages for low-income workers; workers with low incomes can receive up to an additional 45 cents for every dollar they earn. Recognizing […]

Tax Policy is MIA in the State of the Union

When it comes to tax policy, President Obama’s State of the Union address last night was a model of modesty. There was little new. And, while it is always hard to tell what really matters in a speech that included more than 40 separate initiatives, the president showed little enthusiasm for broad-based tax reform. With […]

IRS Gets Hammered in the 2014 Budget Agreement

The Internal Revenue Service is one of the biggest losers in the 2014 budget deal agreed to last night by House and Senate negotiators. Under the agreement, the service would get just $11.3 billion, which is $526 million below its 2013 budget and $1.7 billion less than President Obama requested. According to the House Appropriations […]