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“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.”


Of Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox, "Takers," and Deficit Reduction

February 16, 2012

Do you know Zeno of Elea’s famous Dichotomy Paradox?  More than 2,000 years ago, he noted that if Homer wanted to walk all the way to the market, he would first have to walk halfway there, then half of the remaining difference, then half of the remaining difference again so that,...

Three Things for Congress to Remember When Voting on the Debt Limit

January 18, 2012

With the President’s announcement last week, the debt limit is about to rise — automatically — unless Congress enacts a law freezing it at its current level.  While lawmakers may not enjoy allowing a debt limit increase, they all should keep the following...

Federal Pay Freeze Proposal Obscures Likely Cuts in Domestic Funding

December 12, 2011

The payroll tax-cut proposal that House Republican leaders circulated on December 9 would, among other things, reduce the funding caps for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs by a total of $29 billion over the nine-year period 2013-2021.  The bill says the savings would come from extending the existing pay freeze on federal civilian personnel for another year, through December 31, 2013....

War, Taxes, and Priorities

December 7, 2011

The Senate will shortly consider the McConnell-Hatch balanced budget amendment, which prohibits any deficit in any year, prohibits tax increases, and caps total spending at implausibly low levels (about 16½ percent of gross domestic product) — requiring a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to overturn these provisions.  It also requires a three-fifths vote of both houses to raise the debt...

Senate Balanced Budget Amendment an Extreme Version of a Bad Idea

December 5, 2011

Congress would have to cut all programs by an average of one-fourth by 2018 to meet the spending cap in the constitutional balanced budget amendment that the Senate is expected to consider this month, a new CBPP report explains.

Like any version of a balanced budget amendment, the Senate proposal — introduced by...

Balanced Budget Amendment = Bad News for the Economy

November 8, 2011

With the House planning to vote next week on a constitutional balanced budget amendment (BBA), we’ve issued a brief paper highlighting a scathing analysis of a BBA from Macroeconomic Advisers, a leading private economic forecasting firm.

“[R]ecessions would be deeper and longer” under a BBA, the analysis warns, and uncertainty would be cast over the economy that could retard economic growth even in normal economic times.