By Area of Research:
The sequester, the Ryan budget and practically all other spending cuts actually make the debt situation worse
March 28, 2013 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogIt’s clear that the sequester will do plenty of damage to domestic priorities like education, R&D, national parks, regulatory agencies, etc by bringing non-defense discretionary spending down to historic lows.
March 28, 2013 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogOnce a year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) publishes long-run debt projections under their assumptions about budget policy under future Congresses, known as the alternative fiscal scenario (AFS).
March 26, 2013 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogIn a previous blog post, my colleague Andrew noted the encouraging revenue targets in Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray’s (D-WA) Senate Democratic FY2014 budget resolution—revenue that would partially replace sequestration and minimize the per dollar drag of total deficit reduction.
February 28, 2013 | By Ethan Pollack | Economic SnapshotAt 3.8 percent of GDP, the current level of funding for non-defense discretionary programs is already lower than the average funding level since the early 1960s.
February 5, 2013 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogWith the recent news that both the United Kingdom’s and United States’ economies contracted last quarter—the U.K. by a large 1.2 percent annualized rate and the U.S.
February 1, 2013 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogThere is a rapidly-forming consensus that policymakers should commit to specific levels of deficit reduction over the next 10 years. At a press conference earlier this month, President Obama endorsed a specific 10-year savings target of $1.5 trillion, arguing that two years ago there was a consensus that “we need[ed] about $4 trillion to stabilize our debt and our deficit, which means we need about $1.5 trillion more.” This is consistent with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ recommendation that $1.4 trillion in deficit reduction (including interest savings) over the next 10 years be targeted to stabilize the debt ratio (federal debt as a share of total gross domestic product).
Increases of middle-class tax rates equal or exceed increases on households earning between $200K and $1M
January 11, 2013 | By Ethan Pollack | Economic SnapshotWhile the “fiscal cliff” budget deal included provisions that increased taxes on high-income households, it failed to extend the payroll tax cut, a 2-percentage-point tax cut on wage and salary income that went into effect in 2011.
December 21, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogThe New York Times is reporting that President Obama is backing off his pledge to allow the Bush tax cuts on income more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples) to expire, instead proposing to only allow the tax cuts on income above $400,000 to expire.
December 20, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogOne of the unfortunate side effects of the political dysfunction that has increasingly gripped the nation’s capital is a habit of lurching from one crisis to the next rather than taking time to do a bottom-up assessment of the effectiveness of current policy.
December 6, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogIt’s true that the fiscal cliff poses a significant threat to the economy if left completely unaddressed deep into 2013. But although the two most well-known components of the cliff (which is better described as a “fiscal obstacle course”) are the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the sequestration cuts, neither scheduled change poses nearly as large a danger to the economy in the immediate future as a failure to raise the debt ceiling.
President Obama wants to cut domestic spending and protect public investments, but his budget only cuts
November 29, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogLast week, President Obama’s vestigial campaign sent out an infographic touting his plan to address the fiscal cliff. This plan would end the upper Bush tax cuts and cut spending by more than $3 trillion, including the cuts already signed into law since early 2011, and preserve nondefense public investments in areas like education and infrastructure.
November 27, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogWarren Buffett wrote a great New York Times op-ed in which he illustrated the ridiculousness of the claims that higher tax rates on the rich will cause them to forego profitable investments.
November 26, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | Issue BriefA new EPI report finds that the proposed tax provision known as the Buffett Rule could help create about 43,000 jobs in 2013 and roughly 95,000 jobs per year from 2014 through 2017.
October 19, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been adamant that his tax plan won’t cut taxes for the rich. In the debate earlier this week, he said: “The top 5 percent of taxpayers will continue to pay 60 percent of the income tax the nation collects… I will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals.” So would his plan cut taxes for high-income households?
October 10, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | Briefing PaperThe economy is made up of more than coal miners and solar panel installers, and many occupations have significant roles to play along the spectrum between the fossil fuel economy and a “clean” economy.
October 4, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | Analysis and OpinionAmerica has a nasty addiction to fossil fuels. This addiction harms our health by spewing toxic chemicals into the air, and undercuts income mobility by disproportionately hurting poor communities and those who lack political power.
October 2, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogMy colleagues Josh Bivens and Andrew Fieldhouse recently released a report finding that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s budget plan would reduce employment by between 550,000 and 1.9 million jobs over the next two years relative to current policy, depending on whether his tax cut is deficit-financed or fully paid for with base-broadening.
September 18, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogFor those of you that aren’t news junkies, Mitt Romney was caught on tape at a May 17 fundraiser proclaiming: “Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.
August 27, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogThe Affordable Care Act (ACA), called “Obamacare” by opponents and supporters alike, has been maligned and misrepresented countless times over the last few years.
August 10, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogA few weeks ago at a congressional hearing, Gene Steuerle pointed out that the design of our tax code and safety net can result in low-income households facing high effective marginal tax rates.
August 9, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogI know I’m getting to this debate a little late, but it’s too good to pass up. As you may have read, the centrist think tank Third Way recently came out with a paper finding that entitlement spending has crowded out public investments, and therefore Democrats who care about children should endorse cutting health and retirement benefits for the poor and/or elderly.
August 2, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogMitt Romney and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are both pushing “tax reform” plans that would lower marginal tax rates while broadening the base (curbing tax deductions, credits, and exclusions).
July 18, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogYesterday, a selection of past members of the Bowles-Simpson commission, anti-deficit groups like the Peterson Foundation and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and a handful of retired politicians launched the Fix the Debt Campaign in order to push a deficit reduction package in line with the original Bowles-Simpson framework (full disclosure: I served on the Bowles-Simpson commission staff in fall 2010).
June 13, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | Economic SnapshotPresident Obama’s long-held position on the Bush-era tax cuts has been that taxpayers making less than $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers) should not pay more in taxes.
June 6, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogYesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its annual Long Term Budget Outlook (LTBO), which projects federal spending, revenues, deficits, and debt over the next 75 years.
May 25, 2012 | By Ethan Pollack | BlogFor the past few months, I (and others in favor of allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich to expire) had worried that once we got into the lame duck session, congressional Democrats would let their position slip and start supporting extending tax cuts for couples with income above $250,000 (individuals above $200,000).