Posts Tagged ‘budget process’

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, […]

The Balanced Budget Amendment’s $300 Billion Error

The balanced budget amendment introduced by Senate Republicans yesterday contains a striking error. As written, it would limit federal spending much more than they claim or, I suspect, intend (I said the same back in 2011, when this first came up). The senators want to balance the budget by limiting spending rather than raising tax […]

What You Should Know About the Budget Outlook

The Congressional Budget Office released its latest Budget and Economic Outlook earlier this week.  As always, the Outlook provides insight into the fiscal status of the federal government. My three overarching reactions are: First, because American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) instituted tax changes that had been widely expected, the official (“current law”) baseline is now much […]

Fixing Medicare’s Double-Counting Problem

Last week I argued that budgeting for Medicare’s hospital insurance program is flawed. Today, I offer two ways to fix it (and reject a third). Medicare Part A is one of several federal programs that control spending through a “belt and suspenders” combination of regular program rules (the belt) and an overall limit (the suspenders). But […]

The Fight Over Medicare Double Counting

The recent double-counting dispute isn’t just about politics; it also reveals a flaw in budgeting for Medicare Part A. Budget experts are waging a spirited battle over the Medicare changes that helped pay for 2010’s health reform. In April, Chuck Blahous, one of two public trustees of the program, released a study arguing that the […]

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines

My latest column for the Christian Science Monitor argues that a slew of budget deadlines will drive policy action this Fall. Case in point, the potential for a government shutdown when the government’s fiscal year ends later this week. I don’t think that’s likely, at least not yet, but such deadlines will be the big thing this […]

The Coming Payroll Tax Role Reversal

In a couple of weeks, President Obama will ask Congress to extend this year’s payroll tax cut. It will surely become a classic Washington double-reverse rhetorical moment. I can’t wait to hear Obama lift some of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) best lines about the folly of raising taxes in the midst of an economic […]

Let’s Eliminate the Debt Limit

My latest column at the Christian Science Monitor: America’s leaders need to get to yes on a budget deal – one that marries substantial deficit cuts with a much-needed increase in the debt limit. But that’s not enough. Rather than merely increasing the debt limit, we should eliminate it. I realize that sounds strange. With […]

Job-Killing Spending Cuts

There has been a lot of talk in Washington recently about “job-killing tax increases.” Raising taxes, the argument goes, would lead businesses to hire fewer workers and stifle our already weak economic recovery. But I haven’t heard anyone talking about “job-killing spending cuts.” In macroeconomic terms, tax increases and spending cuts have qualitatively the same […]

A Big Error in the Senate Republicans’ Balanced Budget Amendment

Senate Republicans made a striking error in the balanced budget amendment they introduced last week. As written, the amendment would limit federal spending far more than those senators realize or, I suspect, desire. The Republicans want the budget to be balanced by keeping spending down rather than by raising tax revenues. They thus propose limiting […]