For some time, the Center has called attention to the serious long-term budget problems the nation faces and explored potential solutions.  Listed below are selected analyses from the past few years.

A Balanced Approach to Restoring Fiscal Responsibility

Sixteen leading economists and budget experts issued a major critique on July 9, 2008 of a proposal to address future federal budget deficits through radical changes in budget procedures for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They believe there are better ways to begin tackling projected deficits, which they describe in their critique.

Henry Aaron Richard Kogan
Nancy Altman Jack Lew
Kenneth Apfel Marilyn Moon
James Blum Van Doorn Ooms
J. Bradford DeLong Uwe Reinhardt
Peter Diamond Charles Schultze
Robert Greenstein Robert Solow
James Horney Paul Van de Water

Full Report | Executive Summary | Press Release

The Extent of the Problem

In January 2007 the Center issued new long-term projections showing that deficits and debt will grow to dangerous levels if policy changes are not made.  Our analysis demonstrates the effects that projected demographic changes and increases in health care costs will have on projected expenditures for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  It also shows the importance of upcoming tax-policy decisions, particularly whether to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent without offsetting their costs.  In addition, the analysis shows that entitlement programs other than the “big three” are not contributors to the long-run fiscal problem.
  The Long-Term Fiscal Outlook Is Bleak
  Robert Greenstein on Long-Term Budget Projections Before Senate Budget Committee (testimony)
  There Is No General "Entitlement Crisis"

Potential Solutions

The Center’s most comprehensive discussion of possible policy changes to improve the long-term fiscal situation is A Broken Federal Fiscal Policy…and How to Fix It

A number of analyses also examine individual proposals to improve the long-term fiscal picture or keep it from growing worse.

Pay-As-You-Go Budgeting:

  Joint Statement on the Need for Pay-As-You-Go Discipline (with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Concord Coalition, and the Committee for Economic Development)
  Robert Greenstein Before the House Budget Committee on Pay-As-You-Go (testimony)
  Economic Effects of the Pay-As-You-Go Rule

Curbing Health Care Spending:

  Private Plan Overpayments Weaken Medicare’s Financing and Hasten the Program’s Insolvency
  Informing the Debate about Curbing Medicare Advantage Overpayments

Reforming Social Security:

  Saving Social Security: The Diamond-Orszag Plan (from the Brookings Institution)

Broadening the Tax Base:

  An Analysis of the "Carried Interest" Controversy
  The Effects of the Capital Gains and Dividend Tax Cuts On the Economy and Revenues

Changing the Index Used for Cost-of-Living Increases in Benefit Programs and the Tax Code:

  A Simple Proposal that Can Yield Substantial Savings Over Time
Federal Budget Publications Library
Federal Budget Policies:
'08 | '07 | '06 | '05 | '04 | '03 | '02 | '01 | '00 | '99

Federal Budget Process:
2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | '99

* These chronological listings are more comprehensive than the sub-topic listings below

Federal Budget Publications Library


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