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GAO Agrees: Current Accounting Method Beats Fair Value Approach

February 29, 2016

“The Current Method To Estimate Credit Subsidy Costs Is More Appropriate for Budget Estimates Than A Fair Value Approach.”  The title of today's report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says it all.

Currently, the federal government shows the actual amounts the government spends and receives on its loan and loan guarantee...

Dollar Bill Puzzle Pieces

Congress’ Budget Course Based on Ideology, Not Rules

September 18, 2015

As it faces key budget issues this fall, Congress — particularly the Republican majority — has taken different approaches to paying for programs that reflect its policy and ideological preferences rather than consistently apply standard budget rules, as we explain in a...

E Pluribis Unum Budget

A Double Standard to Pay for Highways, Mass Transit

September 16, 2015

Congress, while addressing a shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund this fall, has taken inconsistent approaches to whether and how to pay for new costs; in fact it is applying special, stringent rules only to the highway fund, effectively forcing lawmakers to pay for some highway funding that does not constitute an increase above existing levels, as we explain in a...

Traffic Jam

Our Latest Look at the Nation’s Long-Term Fiscal Outlook

September 14, 2015

The nation’s fiscal outlook has improved significantly since 2010, but it remains challenging, according to our new long-term budget projections

Under current budget policies, we project that the ratio of debt to gross domestic product — which was 74...

In Focus: Debt-to-GDP Ratio Virtually Flat Until Early 2020s, Then Rises Gradually

Federal Debt Limit’s Harmful, Report Shows

July 16, 2015

With the federal government on course to hit the legal debt limit this year, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study shows that the limit is harmful.  That’s consistent with our view, briefly here and in detail...

Budget Process - Money Puzzle Pieces

CBO Contradicts Itself — Long-Term Budget Picture Improving, Not Worsening

June 17, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) new report on the budget picture opens by saying, “The long-term outlook for the federal budget has worsened dramatically over the past several years,” blaming the Great Recession and the steps taken to address it.  But CBO’s own data, in that very report, show that’s not the case.  The CBO data that allow an apples-to-apples comparison of its new...

Long-Term Budget Outlook Has Improved

CBO’s Long-Term Outlook: What to Look For

June 16, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its newest long-term budget outlook today and, if it’s like last year’s, you should keep two points in mind.  First, CBO generally presents two scenarios: an “extended baseline” and an “alternative fiscal scenario” (AFS).  Focus more on the extended baseline because it represents a continuation of current laws and policies while the AFS...

Debt-to-GDP Ratio Virtually Flat Until Early 2020s, Then Rises Gradually

House, Senate Budget Plans Each Get 69 Percent of Cuts From Low-Income Programs

March 23, 2015

The 2016 budget resolutions that the House and Senate will consider this week each cut more than $3 trillion over ten years (2016-2025) from programs that serve people of limited means — representing 69 percent of their cuts to non-defense spending, as we explain in a new analysis...

Setting the Record Straight on Student Loan Costs

February 18, 2015

President Obama’s 2016 budget estimates that the outstanding portfolio of federal student loans will be $21.8 billion less profitable than previously thought over the loans’ lifetime.  This reestimate doesn’t mean that the program “had a $21.8 billion shortfall last year,” as a...

History Suggests Ryan Block Grant Would Be Susceptible to Cuts

July 28, 2014

At the heart of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new poverty plan is a block grant — called the “Opportunity Grant” — that would consolidate 11 disparate low-income programs, the largest being SNAP (formerly food stamps).  Ryan says that the block grant would maintain the same overall funding as the current programs...