November 29, 2014

bbixby's blog

A Better Way Out of the Stalemate

The partisan vortex in Washington is now so strong that it threatens to swallow all rational thought.

Go Long

 

This originally appeared on The American Square at http://theamericansquare.org/profiles/blogs/go-long

Can't Get There From Here

The punch line of an old joke aptly describes the status of budget negotiations in Washington: you can’t get there from here. It’s not the “there” that is the problem; it’s the “here.”

Broad bipartisan consensus exists on two points. The first is that the debt limit must soon be raised to avoid a default in one form or another. The second is that current fiscal policy cannot be sustained. Missing from the equation is any solid evidence that political leaders are prepared to do what is necessary to solve either problem.

Trustees' New Projections Show Why Entitlement Reform Can't Wait

Related Media: 
See video

Anyone wondering why Social Security and Medicare should be “on the table” in budget negotiations need look no further than the 2011 Trustees’ Report issued on May 13.

The President's Debt Tour: "Game On" but to What End?

House Republicans have adopted a budget they say will make tough but necessary spending cuts to rein in our nation’s burgeoning budget deficits. President Obama says the Republican plan is too radical. He hit the road last week to sell his own deficit reduction plan, which he says is more balanced.

So, it’s “game on.”

But just what is the purpose of this game?

Let's Look at How We Spend, Not Just How Much

Related Media: 
See video

Here is a trivia question: Under which scenario would Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up the larger share of non-interest (i.e. “primary”) federal government spending?

A. President Obama’s budget

A Budget Debate Three Stooges Style

Related Media: 
See video

Moe, Larry and Curly are fighting in the back seat of the car. No one is in the driver’s seat. As the boys settle down, Curly looks up and says, “Hey, don’t look now but we’re about to be killed.”

Leave it to The Three Stooges to provide the perfect metaphor for what passes as a budget debate in Washington these days.

It appears that we’re headed for a government shutdown in April and a possible default in May all because politicians can’t stop squabbling over a few billion dollars from a small slice of the budget while our overall fiscal policy is headed for a cliff.

Social Security Cash Deficits are Here to Stay

A flurry of commentary greeted the unsurprising news last week that Social Security is paying out more than it is taking in. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Social Security cash deficit for 2010 was $37 billion and will rise to $45 billion this year. The one-year payroll tax holiday enacted in December would actually leave the 2011 deficit much larger ($130 billion), but general revenues will be credited to Social Security to make up for the loss of payroll tax income.

It’s Official: U.S. Fiscal Policy is Unsustainable

With the ink barely dry on a $858 billion tax cut and emergency spending bill, lawmakers were hit with an official reminder last week that steps to rein in the nation’s growing debt cannot be postponed much longer.

According to the 2010 Financial Report of the U.S.

Politically Popular Options Aren’t Enough for Serious Deficit Reduction

My least favorite argument in deficit reduction debates is that a particular option can’t be chosen because it is too unpopular. If that criterion is strictly applied, we might as well fold our tents and wait for the inevitable fiscal crisis because we’ll never eliminate trillion-dollar deficits with “popular” options.