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Balanced Budget Amendment Likely to Harm the Economy

July 16, 2014

A number of states may soon call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to require that the federal budget be balanced every year.  But a convention would pose serious risks, and a balanced budget requirement would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems.  It would threaten...

Budget Should Show Federal Loan Programs’ Actual Cost

May 27, 2014

A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report compared the cost of three federal loan programs under standard accounting rules and a “fair-value” alternative, which imposes an added cost based on the extra amount that private lenders would charge if they issued the loans or loan guarantees.  We view...

Ryan Budget Gets 69 Percent of Its Cuts From Low-Income Programs [Updated]

April 10, 2014

Some 69 percent of the cuts in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget would come from programs that serve people of limited means, our recently released report finds.  These disproportionate cuts — which likely account for at least $3.3 trillion of the budget’s $4.8 trillion in non-defense cuts over the next...

Ryan Budget Gets 69 Percent of Its Cuts from Low-Income Programs

April 3, 2014

Update, April 10: This blog post has been updatedClick here for the full analysis of the cuts to programs serving people with low or moderate incomes in Chairman Ryan’s budget.

Congress Has Already Agreed to its 2015 Budget Plan

January 23, 2014

Ahead of schedule!  That phrase does not normally apply to Congress.  But one salutary side effect of the budget deal of last December between Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray and House Budget Chair Paul Ryan is that it automatically establishes the next congressional budget plan.

Ordinarily, Congress is supposed to agree on a budget plan — a congressional “budget resolution” — by April...

Student Loans Are a Good Deal for Students and the Government

November 21, 2013

My new piece in The Huffington Post explains that, while the federal student loan program generates a profit for the federal government, it’s also a good deal for students.  Here’s the opening.

Shahien Nasiripour’s...

If Sequestration Remains, Policymakers Will Have Cut Deficits by Nearly $4 Trillion, Largely Through Spending Cuts

October 31, 2013

As a House-Senate conference committee on the budget resolution begins work, it’s worth taking stock of the deficit reduction of recent years.

Policymakers have enacted several deficit-reduction measures since 2010, including cuts to appropriations in 2011, the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), and the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) in early 2013.  Taken together,...

Facts Contradict Boehner Claim on Debt Limit and Deficits

September 25, 2013

“Every major deficit reduction plan over the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit,” House Speaker John Boehner claims.  But that’s wrong in two ways.  Fewer than half of the deficit-reduction plans included debt-limit increases, and none did what congressional Republicans...

Speaker Boehner Off-Base on Debt Increases

September 13, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contends that linking an increase in the debt limit to budget deals is routine.  In fact, such linkage is the exception — not the rule.

In a...

Timing of the 2014 Sequestration

August 22, 2013

We’ve been asked repeatedly when the sequestration budget cuts for fiscal year 2014 will kick in.  As we see it, the 2014 sequestration has already occurred (even though fiscal year 2014 doesn’t officially begin until October 1).  That’s because the Office of Management and Budget ordered sequestration on...