Tax Policy

If Washington Worked, Here's How We'd Fix the Budget

  • By
  • Marc Goldwein,
  • New America Foundation
July 8, 2011 |
This might have been the front-page story of a national newspaper today. But that's in a parallel universe. Instead of announcing a plan which would begin to reduce our medium-term debt and bring entitlement growth under control, much of Washington is participating in a dangerous game of chicken with the debt ceiling -- a game where failure would destroy our credit rating, rather than preserve it.

There's plenty of blame to go around. Most Democrats came late to the deficit reduction game and have been playing from behind ever since. Rather than using the Fiscal Commission's recommendations as a starting point for negotiations, President Obama mostly ignored it, omitting the lion's share of its recommendations from both his budget and State of the Union address. Only in April, after the administration had already conceded substantial domestic spending cuts, did the President come around and endorse a framework similar to the commission's. Even then, he excluded the commission's proposed changes to Social Security and Medicare benefits, and many Democrats appear to remain unwilling to make the hard choices on entitlement programs necessary to put our long-term trajectory back on track, even if those concessions might spare important programs today or bring Republicans closer to accepting tax increases.

Republicans, meanwhile, have let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The party continues to allow tax orthodoxies to blind them from an opportunity to cut spending. Some have come to the understanding that tax expenditures -- such as the ethanol credit or the employer health exclusion -- are really just spending in the tax code, and that giving them up in exchange for holding traditional spending down to controllable levels is a good deal. But most of the party has called for a spending cut-only solution and has made it clear that they would rather solve only part of the problem and have no revenue (even if entirely from tax expenditures) than solve the entire problem while accepting some revenue.

Budget Path: How Feds Can Avert the Fiscal Crisis

  • By
  • Marc Goldwein,
  • New America Foundation
June 24, 2011 |

In the wake of the recent financial meltdown from which we are still recovering, the United States faces the prospect of yet another crisis—a federal debt crisis. Averting crisis will require tough choices and painful sacrifice, including those from federal workers. This crisis can be averted, however. And the sooner we act, the better. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (“Fiscal Commission”), on which I served as associate director, has shown a way forward.

Financial Regulators: Economic Inclusion and a Healthy Economy Go Together Like Peas and Carrots

June 30, 2011

Or, such is the distillation of the comments made yesterday at the event "Rebuilding the Road to Financial Stability" (co-sponsored by the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus and the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) made by Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin.

What's Next California?

Friday, June 24, 2011 - 3:00pm

We face historic challenges at a time when our state is increasingly thought to be ungovernable. Our outmoded system of government is crippling our ability to deliver basic services to the Californians who create our extraordinary productivity and prosperity – and undercutting our ability to plan and invest for the future. There are plenty of proposals for reform, but the public is often distrustful of those who offer them. It's time to change the process.

Scaling-Up Savings and Savings Policy

June 20, 2011

This presentation was made at the RESULTS International Conference in Washington, D.C. RESULTS is a grassroots advocacy organization focusing on federal policies that create long-term solutions to poverty by supporting programs that address its root causes and has selected The Saver's Bonus as a component of their 2011 domestic legislative campaign. Click here to view the presentation.

The Golden State's (Unhealthy) Single-Issue Politics

April 10, 2011
(cross posted at Zocalo Public Square)

I’m sick and tired of taxes. And this week I suspect I’m not alone.

Tax Policy's Dirty Secret

May 4, 2011

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing asking the question, "Is the Distribution of Tax Burdens and Tax Benefits Equitable?" To ask the question acknowledges tax policy's dirty secret: it isn't just for raising revenue, it's also for spending. Shh! This spending, know as tax expenditures, amount to about $1 trillion a year. To put this in perspective, this is more than Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, or Defense.

How to Add Teeth to Obama’s Plan for a Debt Fail-Safe

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
April 29, 2011 |

In his recent it’s-time-to-get-serious-on-the-budget speech, President Obama introduced his idea for a debt fail-safe to, in his own words, “hold Washington — and to hold me — accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline.” While budget trigger mechanisms

POLITICO Arena: Should States Be Allowed To Declare Bankruptcy?

  • By
  • Joe Mathews,
  • New America Foundation
January 27, 2011 |

This is an idea so terrible and without merit that one has to wonder if some of its backers are simply trying to make money by taking short positions on municipal bonds.

The Sarkozy-Stiglitz Commission's Quest to Get Beyond GDP

  • By
  • Eyal Press,
  • New America Foundation
April 13, 2011 |

For years, Western journalists and commentators have depicted the continent of Africa as an economic basket case, a caldron of hunger, joblessness, corruption and despair where living standards have barely risen. Certainly the figures on gross domestic product, the standard measure of growth and income, suggest as much. Between 1960 and 1999, per capita GDP in the world’s more developed countries rose from $13,000 to $31,000. During this same period, it went from $477 to just $561—about $1.50 a day—in sub-Saharan Africa.

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