November 24, 2014

Blogs

Complicated Tax Code Creates Difficulties for IRS -- and Taxpayers

The national taxpayer advocate, who serves as ombudswoman for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), released her annual report last week, saying budget reductions have “significantly hampered” the agency’s ability to provide top-quality service.

Instead of Business as Usual, Tax Extenders Will Expire at End of the Year

Unlike the past few years, the recent budget agreement has smoothed the way for Congress to recess for its winter break well before Christmas. That has left some traditional end-of-year legislation out in the cold.

The Budget Deal: A Beginning or the End?

President Obama hailed the two-year budget deal reached by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) as a “good first step.”

If he meant a good first step toward broader reforms needed to put the nation’s finances on sounder footing for the long-term, let’s hope he is right.

It is not clear, however, that Capitol Hill leaders, or the President for that matter, have any plans to follow up this very modest achievement with anything more.

Responsibly Financed Extension of Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Can Boost Economy

Extending emergency unemployment compensation for another year would add 200,000 jobs but carries a price tag of $25 billion, according to an analysis released recently by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

To Prevent Future Crises, Budget Experts Say, Washington Must Step Up Its Game

If the recent past is any indication of how elected officials will deal with the country’s short- and long-term fiscal challenges, Americans – and especially younger ones – are in trouble.

Washington will have to step up its game.  And ordinary Americans can help by encouraging their elected representatives to forgo political  theatrics in favor of timely budgets and more responsible policies.

Seizing the Moment on Health Care Costs

A recent report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) reviewing the recent slowdown in health care costs examined its potential causes, its sustainability and the economic impact going forward.

Senator King Serves Up a ‘Grande’ Plan on the Budget

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the budget conference committee, on Tuesday released a proposal that replaces roughly half of the sequestration scheduled through 2021 with savings from mandatory spending and revenue from ending corporate tax expenditures.

The Right Approach: 'Challenging Every Assumption' on Defense Budget Priorities

In recent interviews and speeches, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the military is “challenging every past assumption, every past formula” for allocating budget resources as he tries to reorganize the military for 21st century challenges in the face of a rapidly tightening budget.

In Quest for a Grand Bargain, Lawmakers Can't Skip the Bargaining

Who says that Democrats and Republicans can't reach a grand bargain?

Harry Reid and Paul Ryan seem to have it figured out. If Democrats and Republicans don’t demand compromises from each other, everyone can get along. It’s the perfect political grand bargain: Do nothing.

Unfortunately, that could easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We Need Less Bombast and More Breathing Room

We will soon see whether there is any remaining capacity in the U.S. political system to reach compromise across partisan lines for the common good.

Republican congressional leaders say that if President Obama wants the government to reopen and the debt limit to be increased he will have to make concessions on spending and agree to negotiate a long-term deficit reduction deal. Obama says he will not negotiate anything until the debt limit is raised and the government reopened. After that, he’ll talk.