Obama Administration Could Freeze Tax Withholding at 2012 Levels to Blunt Fiscal Slope Impact in Early 2013

By: Monday November 5, 2012 7:45 am

The lame duck session will, at best, provide a temporary fix for the fiscal slope, according to House Speaker John Boehner. He expressed a philosophical opposition to a lame duck session passing major legislation – “lame duck Congresses aren’t known for doing big things and probably shouldn’t do big things” – that probably looms larger [...]

Obama: Sequester Cuts to Defense “Will Not Happen”

By: Tuesday October 23, 2012 6:16 am

My understanding of the word “debate” is that it refers to a situation where opposing individuals who disagreed with one another took up contrary positions and argued their side against the other. So maybe the better phrase for what happened last night would be something like “mutual admiration society.” But amid lines like “I agree [...]

Debate Preview: Where Are the Jobs Questions?

By: Wednesday October 3, 2012 3:13 pm

(I’ll probably have some real-time bon mots about the debate on my Twitter feed) Thoughts turn to tonight’s Presidential debate, which is scheduled to focus on domestic issues, particularly the economy. These debates actually matter less than the media would have you believe, at least according to the political science literature. But they may be [...]

Game-Planning the Proper Economic Response in the Lame Duck Session

By: Tuesday October 2, 2012 10:10 am

With the three-stage grand bargain rocket in assembly, it’s worth stepping back and figuring out what the optimal policy would be as we head down the fiscal slope. In other words, what’s the counterpoint to slashing spending and the social safety net in exchange for a modicum of tax increases? And what’s the best way [...]

Key Senators Hard at Work on Three-Stage Grand Bargain Rocket

By: Tuesday October 2, 2012 6:40 am

Paul Krugman looked past the election yesterday and toward its aftermath, framing the election as a referendum on the social safety net and warning Democrats not to take the wrong lesson. Here’s the reason he felt the need to do that. Jonathan Weisman’s lead story in today’s New York Times puts together the three-stage process [...]

Defense-Minded Senators Broach Idea of “Balanced” Solution to Avoid Sequester

By: Tuesday September 25, 2012 6:16 am

A curious coalition has come together to petition the Senate leadership of both parties to work on a bipartisan deal to avoid the sequester, the automatic cuts to defense and discretionary spending. Six senators, three in each party, wrote the letter to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. It’s mostly generic, but the identity of those [...]

The Forgotten Payroll Tax Cut and the Fiscal Cliff

By: Tuesday September 18, 2012 9:40 am

Though Congress has decided to slink out of Washington early, there is one meeting of some importance going on in Washington this week. The House Ways and Means Committee, the main tax-writing body, will meet in a bipartisan closed session tomorrow to go over the spate of expiring tax measures that hit at the end [...]

House Passes 6-Month Continuing Resolution to Fund Government

By: Friday September 14, 2012 6:57 am

The House passed a six-month spending bill that will keep the lights on in government agencies until March 2013. Democrats and Republicans made a bet that the next Congress will find more favorable terrain for them, and kicked any contentious spending issues into it. They may do the same on the fiscal cliff, but there’s [...]

Gang of Eight Discusses Six-Month Punt for Fiscal Cliff

By: Wednesday September 12, 2012 11:40 am

Yesterday, John Boehner appeared to wave a white flag on talks aimed at resolving the fiscal cliff. Harry Reid reacted to that with disappointment, saying that there’s still time for a deficit reduction deal. But the real endgame – at least for the lame duck session – is coming into focus. A bipartisan group of [...]

CBO: Nearly $1 Trillion Saved By Letting Bush Tax Cuts Over $250,000 Expire

By: Monday August 27, 2012 9:34 am

The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that ending the Bush tax cuts for earners on income over the first $250,000 would contribute $950 billion over a ten-year period. $823 billion of that would come from the increased revenue, and another $127 billion would arise from the lower interest on the associated debt. The Center on [...]

Getting Things Straight on the Military Sequester

By: Wednesday August 15, 2012 11:03 am

Justin Elliott has a useful story on how the press and politicians have inflated the military budget cuts that are part of the sequester that triggers at the end of the year. The total budgetary savings from the sequester are $1.2 trillion, equally divided between defense and discretionary spending. However, that includes the savings that [...]

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