Backgrounder posted November 20, 2013
Cutting the U.S. Budget Would Help the Economy Grow
Austerity is the result of countries’ democratic decisions to wait until the last minute before acting, under the pressure of the markets, mainly by raising taxes rather than implementing long-waited reforms.
—Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, former member of the executive board of the European Central Bank.
Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have convened the…
Issue Brief posted November 12, 2013
Principles for the Budget Conference
For the first time in years, lawmakers have agreed to convene in a budget conference to reconcile differences between their respective budget proposals, as presented by House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R–WI) and Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray (D–WA). The two chambers’ budgets differ wildly in terms of taxes and the size of government.
Backgrounder posted September 18, 2013
Debt Limit: Options and the Way Forward
Congress cuts spending only when forced to act, but it should carefully consider its options on the debt limit. The federal government hit the statutory debt limit on May 19, 2013, with $16.7 trillion in debt.; Two days earlier, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew sent a letter to Congress detailing $260 billion in extraordinary measures that the Department of the…
Special Report posted August 20, 2013
Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2013: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points
In 2013, federal spending approached $3.5 trillion and the deficit dropped to “only” $642 billion. Some are using this small improvement in the nation’s fiscal situation to avoid further budget tightening. But as the figures and graphics in this report show, this is the wrong conclusion to draw. Following four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the national…
Issue Brief posted July 17, 2013
House Can Save $2.3 Billion More on the Commerce, Justice, and Science Bill
House appropriators are considering the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill in full committee this week. The bill would allocate $47.4 billion for commerce, justice, science, and related agencies—only $350 million (1 percent) less than the FY 2013 post-sequestration level. House appropriators can do better than that.
Backgrounder posted July 2, 2013
Congress Could Cut Five USDA Programs and Save $2.8 Billion a Year
On June 13, 2013, the House Appropriations Committee approved its $19.5 billion Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The full House is expected to take up the bill soon. With nearly $17 trillion in federal debt and chronic deficits on the budget horizon, the House should pursue…
Issue Brief posted June 25, 2013
How to Slash Billions from the Agriculture Appropriations Bill
Though the “farm” bill was just struck down in the House, there are still serious agriculture spending issues that must be addressed. The House is expected to take up the $19.5 billion agriculture appropriations bill soon. This is a prime opportunity for the House to show that it is serious about cutting unnecessary agricultural spending and reducing the national debt.…
Issue Brief posted May 31, 2013
Social Security Trust Fund Reports Massive Deficits, Benefit Cuts by 2033
Social Security ran a $55 billion deficit in 2012, closing out three years of consecutive cash-flow deficits as the program’s unfunded obligations continue to grow.
The combined 75-year unfunded obligation of the Social Security and Disability trust funds (referred to as the OASDI trust fund) is $12.3 trillion. This is a $1 trillion increase from last year’s unfunded…