Posts Tagged ‘budget’

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Costs of Debt Limit Brinksmanship

Today I had the chance to testify before the Joint Economic Committee about a perennial challenge, the looming debt limit. Here are my opening remarks. You can find my full testimony here. I’d like to make six points about the debt limit today. First, Congress must increase the debt limit. Failure to do so will […]

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 […]

Are Low Interest Rates Masking Future Deficits?

Thanks to artificially low interest rates, the United States has been able to finance deficits exceeding $1 trillion every year from 2009 through 2012 at very low cost. Throughout the period, the ratio of interest to the GDP has remained almost stable and is not expected to start rising until 2015. Some argue that this […]

Smart Tax Reform Could Shrink the Government

Max Baucus and Dave Camp, leaders of the Senate and House tax-writing committees, are on the road promoting tax simplification. One goal: cleaning out the mess of deductions, exclusions, credits, and other tax breaks that complicate the code. Done well, such house cleaning could make for a simpler, fairer, more pro-growth tax code. It could […]

Tax Reform Bumps Into More Political Reality

If Congress is going to reform the tax code, it will take an enormous amount of hard work and a lot of luck. The stars, as they say, will have to align. Unfortunately, those galactic bodies seem to be getting more and more disarranged. Reform just can’t catch a break. The deficit is shrinking, taking away […]

Immigration, Dynamic Scoring, and CBO

Immigration policy poses an unusual challenge for the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. If Congress allows more people into the United States, our population, labor force, and economy will all get bigger. But CBO and JCT usually hold employment, gross domestic product (GDP), and other macroeconomic variables constant when making their […]

High Income Households Would Pay Most—But Not All—of the New Taxes in Obama’s 2014 Budget

The revenue proposals included in President Obama’s 2014 budget would, as intended, significantly raise taxes on the highest-income American households. However, despite Obama’s long-standing pledge to protect individuals making below $200,000 (and couples making $250,000 or less) from any tax hikes, even many of those families would pay slightly more than under today’s tax law. […]