Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’

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 […]

Congress Shouldn’t Forget About Tax Entitlements In Its Search for Deficit Reduction

Yesterday, Washington Post columnist Bob Samuelson urged lawmakers to “just eliminate…the whole notion of entitlements.”  His provocative argument: The very word “entitlement” makes people believe these programs are somehow untouchable. They are, for instance, effectively exempt from the sequester’s cuts even though they represent two-thirds of all government spending. Bob is on to something but he […]

How Washington Will Use the Coming Budget Wars To Duck Hard Choices

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has notified Congress that the U.S. government will reach the limits of its ability to borrow in mid-October.  Lew’s letter sounds the opening notes of the overture to this fall’s fiscal grand opera. Between October 1 and the end of the calendar year, President Obama and Congress will battle over the […]

Bowles-Simpson II: A New Plan to Avoid the Sequester

With 10 days to go until the dreaded sequester—the automatic across-the-board spending cuts that most lawmakers profess to hate—the Washington drama machine is starting to get in gear. Today, President Obama stood in front a group of uniformed first responders and warned darkly of layoffs if the spending cuts kick in. At the same time, […]

Obama’s State of the Union and the Great Deficit Smackdown

House Republicans say they want to balance the budget in a decade with only spending cuts and no tax hikes. In his state of the union address tonight, President Obama—perhaps channeling his new pal New Jersey Governor Chris Christie—had a response. In a word, fuhgedaboutit. Obama’s priorities: Gun control and immigration reform, along with a […]

The Risks of Dumbing Down Fiscal Goals

In one of the more dangerous fiscal developments of recent months, some on the left are defining successful deficit reduction as merely stabilizing the federal debt at about 70 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2022. While there is no magic target, this one is far too modest and threatens to leave future fiscal policy […]

Five Ways the Chasm Between Democratic and Republican Budget Plans is Growing

If their leaders’ public statements are to be believed, the fiscal chasm between the political parties is widening. And it is hard to see how it can be bridged.    Congressional Democrats and Republicans have agreed to put off the next budget crisis for a month or so. This is a good thing, especially considering […]

How Obama’s Inaugural Address Frames the Policy Debate for the Next Decade

 “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.  But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” With those words in his 2nd inaugural address, […]

2013 May Be the Year of Perpetual Fiscal Crisis

If 2012 was the year of modest economic recovery and surprising Democratic election success, 2013 may be the year of perpetual fiscal policy crisis. After watching the still-unresolved partisan battle over the fiscal cliff, it is increasingly hard to imagine Congress and President Obama reaching anything like a big budget deal next year. Instead, it […]

How to Control Entitlements: A Challenge Ike Did Not Face

Yesterday, I described President Eisenhower’s remarkable success in turning  a large deficit in fiscal 1959 into a balanced budget in 1960.  It was one of the biggest fiscal consolidations since World War II.  Although it was a very different time, there are lessons relevant to today’s fiscal challenges.  One is that a president need not […]