Backgrounder posted March 26, 2015
$4 Trillion and Counting: President Obama’s 2016 Budget Presents a Vision of Government Largess
For the first time since 2010, President Obama released his annual budget on time. Such punctuality is a welcome step toward normalcy in the budget process, though one wonders why it took five years for the Administration to adhere to the statutory deadline. Aside from its timeliness, there is little good that can be said about the President’s 2016 budget.
Issue Brief posted March 11, 2015
7 Priorities for the 2016 Congressional Budget Resolution
The new 114th Congress has a responsibility to address growing spending and debt. This is especially true following the post-election pledge made by House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) to address “a national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never…
Backgrounder posted February 19, 2015
What Is Social Security Disability Insurance? An SSDI Primer
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the federal social insurance program that provides monthly cash benefits to eligible disabled individuals and their families. In 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provided these benefits to nearly 11 million disabled workers and their eligible spouses and children. Disabled workers receive an average of about…
Issue Brief posted November 12, 2014
Lame Duck Threats Congress Should Avoid
A lame duck session refers to when one Congress is in session after a new one has been elected. After last week’s election, Members of Congress who lost elections or are retiring are lame ducks, who are protected from the consequences of passing politically unpopular legislation. This lame duck session is particularly important because the Republicans will take control…
Backgrounder posted November 10, 2014
How the ABLE Act Would Expand the Welfare State
This summer, a 14-page bill with 379 co-sponsors (193 Republicans, 186 Democrats), which is little known outside the halls of Congress, was reported out of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647) would establish tax-favored savings accounts, similar to “529” education savings accounts, for individuals with…
Issue Brief posted November 6, 2014
Triple-Dipping: Thousands of Veterans Receive More than $100,000 in Benefits Every Year
A new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that in 2013, nearly 60,000 disabled veterans received cash benefits from three different federal programs simultaneously. More than 2,300 veterans received $100,000 or more in annual benefits each, and the highest annual benefit amounted to more than $200,000.
Receiving concurrent benefits from…
Backgrounder posted October 17, 2014
Eliminating Waste and Controlling Government Spending
If one asks Americans how many cents of every dollar that the federal government spends they believe is wasted, their answer reflects a belief that Washington is vastly incompetent when it comes to managing taxpayer money. A 2014 Gallup poll reported that Americans think the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar they pay in taxes.
This year’s figure is…
Issue Brief posted July 28, 2014
Congress Should Fund Wildfire Suppression Without Creating a New Spending Loophole
As part of a request to authorize $615 million in emergency deficit spending for wildfire suppression and rehabilitation in 2014, President Obama also asked Congress to fund 30 percent of wildfire suppression costs by creating a new spending loophole in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA).
Although Congress should appropriate sufficient funding for wildfire suppression,…