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Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform: The Road to Nowhere on Deficit Reduction

April 30, 2013

Congressional Republicans reportedly may insist upon revenue-neutral tax reform as part of their price for agreeing to raise the debt limit later this year.  Such a course, however, would effectively block...

Who’s Serious About Getting a Budget Deal?

April 8, 2013

In an attempt to reignite efforts to reach a bipartisan budget compromise, President Obama’s new budget will adhere to his final offer to House Speaker John Boehner of December 17 in their budget talks.  As a result, it will contain more savings in both Social Security and Medicare — both in the first ten years and beyond — than the House-passed Ryan budget.

The Obama budget contains...

Charges Against Murray Budget on Deficit Reduction and Spending Cuts Don’t Stand Up Under Scrutiny

March 19, 2013

Some Congressional critics of Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray’s budget, which her committee approved last week, claim it double-counts spending cuts and boosts spending rather than reducing it.  An examination of these issues suggests, however, these charges are politically driven and don’t stand up well under scrutiny.

The main charge is that Senator Murray cannot...

Don’t Forget Ryan’s Budget of Last Year

March 5, 2013

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will reportedly begin to release the details of his new budget proposal on Wednesday.  House Republicans have already announced their goal is to balance the budget in ten years, and some have assumed this will require even deeper cuts and more extreme policies than last year’s Ryan budget, which did not balance after a decade.  But this misses...

Minimum Wage Proposal an Essential Step Toward Making Work Pay

February 20, 2013

Critics of President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage modestly so that it reaches $9 an hour in 2015 say the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a better way to supplement low wages.  But, both a more adequate minimum wage and strong refundable tax credits are necessary to “...

The Washington Post and CBPP’s Analysis on Stabilizing the Debt

January 28, 2013

The lead editorial in yesterday’s Washington Post argues that it’s not enough to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy (i.e., gross domestic product or GDP) over the coming decade.  It says we should go farther and lower the debt-to-GDP...

Why Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform Would Be a Big Mistake

January 8, 2013

With the “fiscal cliff” budget deal behind us, congressional Republicans leaders say they’re done raising revenues.  They likely will push this year for “revenue-neutral” tax reform, meaning it would raise the same amount of revenue as the current tax...

Disparate Treatment: Permanent, Million-Dollar Estate-Tax Breaks for Wealthy Heirs Vs. Temporary Tax Credit Improvements for Low-Income Working Families

January 4, 2013

One of the most disappointing parts of this week’s budget deal is its disparate treatment of a lavish estate tax break for the nation’s wealthiest heirs as compared to several tax credit improvements for low-income working families.

On one hand, the new law makes permanent most of a large tax cut from 2010 for the estates of the wealthiest Americans.  Republican negotiators initially...

Budget Deal Gives New Tax Cut to Wealthy – And Pretends It’s a Tax Increase

January 2, 2013

The new budget deal delays the across-the-board spending cuts (or “sequestration”) for two months — and covers half of the resulting $24 billion cost through spending cuts and half through tax increases.  This 50-50 balance between spending cuts and revenue increases marks an important principle that policymakers should follow in producing the additional long-term deficit reduction that the...

The Next Act: Further Deficit Reduction Must Include a Mix of Revenues and Spending Cuts

January 2, 2013

The revenue increases in the new budget deal (the American Taxpayers Relief Act, or ATRA), coupled with the large cuts in discretionary spending that policymakers enacted in 2011, will achieve more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years.  That’s a substantial amount, but it’s not enough to stabilize the country’s debt as a share of the economy over the decade ahead.  To...