Posts Tagged ‘Debt’

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 […]

Should We Eliminate the Extraordinary Measures?

You’ve probably heard that Treasury will hit the debt limit on October 17 and soon thereafter it won’t be able to pay all of America’s bills. That second part is true: Congress needs to act soon—preferably before the 17th—so Treasury doesn’t miss any payments. But the first part isn’t: Treasury actually hit the debt limit […]

Actually, the United States Has Defaulted

Since the day of Alexander Hamilton, the United States has never defaulted on the federal debt. That’s what we budget-watchers always say. It’s a great talking point. One that helps bolster the argument that default should not be an option in Washington’s latest debt limit showdown. There’s just one teensy problem: it isn’t exactly true. […]

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 […]

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 […]

“Common Sense” Aside, What Do We Really Know About Capital Income Taxes and Growth?

If you’re discussing tax policy with someone who asserts that his or her point is “just common sense,” this could indicate one of two things: Either no deep thought is required—as the person would have you believe. Or no deep thought has been applied. The “common sense” notion that capital income taxes hinder growth seems […]

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 […]

Ryan Would Shift the Fiscal Burden to Low and Middle-Income Households

The budget proposal House Budget Committee Chairman  Paul Ryan (R-WI) released last week  is, essentially, an effort to have low- and middle-class households bear the entire burden of closing the fiscal gap and bear the costs of financing an additional tax cut for high income households.  The Tax Policy Center (which I co-direct) analyzed the […]