October 25, 2014

Blogs

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

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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

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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.

An Update on Ryan's Dilemma

Budget-watchers in Washington are quite interested in how Republican Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, will write a budget that will achieve the numerous and sometimes conflicting aims of his conference.

Economic Report of the President Omits Some Important Points

Even if the new Economic Report of the President had actually discussed better ways to raise revenue or to make Social Security and Medicare programs more sustainable, it would have judiciously avoided using the controversial words “taxes” or “entitlements.”

Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Internship Program Summer of 2011

I’m thrilled to announce that The Concord Coalition is laying the groundwork for the 2011 session of The Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Internship Program. Piloted last year, this program awards stipend-supported internships focused on fiscal issues at different public policy institutions around Washington, DC. While each intern works on their own project with a scholar at a hosting institution, all students in the program come together once a week over the 10-week session for a seminar with a participating organization.

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.

With Medicare, You Get Substantially More Than You Pay For

Urban Institute scholar Gene Steuerle has run the numbers and found that for Medicare, retirees are getting a really good deal.

In a fascinating set of calculations, Steuerle and colleague Stephanie Rennane, looked at both Social Security and Medicare and estimated the levels of benefits relative to taxes (and premiums for Medicare) paid for many different levels of income and years of retirement.

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.

From a Budgetary Perspective, the Health Care Individual Mandate is Not Severable

The legal term severable normally gets little notice outside the world of constitutional law -- yet now it has become a big buzzword amongst health care analysts and federal budget wonks. The reason has to do with the numerous legal challenges to the Accountable Care Act's individual mandate to purchase health insurance.