off the charts

You are here

The Myth of the Exploding Safety Net

October 23, 2012

A new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report shows that federal spending on low-income programs has risen significantly in recent years.  Does this mean that safety net programs are growing out of control and are a major cause of the nation’s long-term budget...

Five Basic Points About Bowles-Simpson

October 4, 2012

Our new report — What Was Actually in Bowles-Simpson? — has the details, but below are five basic points about the budget plan from presidential deficit commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.

  1. Bowles-Simpson called for $6.3 trillion in deficit reduction over fiscal years 2013-
  2. ...

Deficit Reduction, Phase One

September 25, 2012

Debates over how — and how much — to reduce projected deficits often overlook the fact that the first stage of large-scale deficit reduction is already in law.  As our new report explains, legislation enacted last year, most notably the Budget Control Act, will produce $1.5 trillion in savings in discretionary (that is, non-...

A More Realistic Look at Sequestration

June 14, 2012

In a recent release, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) estimates that the automatic cuts (“sequestration”) in defense funding scheduled for next January could shrink that funding by 14.7 percent in 2013.  That figure, however, is based on several very questionable assumptions that essentially amount to a worst-case scenario....

Here’s Our Take on the House’s Low-Income Cuts

May 11, 2012

News stories (like this and this) and commentaries (like this) offer differing numbers on how...

Who Really Punted on Pell?

April 27, 2012

Pell Grants to help students from low-income families pay for college face a $58 billion shortfall over the next decade — even though the Congressional Budget Office says the program’s costs will remain flat during that period — because the way Congress has funded them in recent years...

“Fair-Value” Proposal Would Artificially Inflate Federal Lending Costs

April 10, 2012

Charles Lane argues in a Washington Post op-ed today that the official cost estimates of federal loan and loan guarantee programs should include a penalty based on the additional amount that private lenders would charge if they issued the loans...

When Is a Deal Not a Deal?

March 22, 2012

With defense funding well above the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) funding caps in coming years, and non-defense discretionary funding very far below those caps, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget bears little resemblance to the bipartisan agreement reached last summer (see graph).

3-22-12bud2-blog.jpg ...

The Myth of the Out-of-Control Federal Government

February 29, 2012

Are the size and reach of the federal government exploding, as some have suggested?  While overall federal spending is well above its historical average as a share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is expected to remain so even after the economy recovers, our new examination of the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO)...

Speaker Gingrich’s Claim of $500 Billion in Civil Service Savings Doesn’t Add Up

February 23, 2012

In last night’s presidential candidate debate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, “if we were prepared to repeal the 130-year-old civil service laws and go to a modern management system, we could save a minimum of $500 billion a year with a better system.”