In a series of fact sheets, EPI Senior Economist and Director of Tax and Budget Policy Thomas Hungerford outlines the various topics that are likely to be discussed in upcoming budget negotiations, including tax reform and changes to Social Security and Medicare. Hungerford examines proposals such as indexing Social Security benefits to the chained CPI and raising the eligibility age for Medicare, as well as tax reforms such as closing corporate tax loopholes.
“These issues have been on the table during every budget conversation, from the super committee to the Simpson-Bowles Commission and now they are on the table again,” said Hungerford, “but given that the public doesn’t support entitlement cuts, the economy is far from full employment, and the fact that our long term fiscal outlook is manageable, you have to wonder whether we need a ‘grand bargain’ at all.”
The fact sheets are designed for use by Americans who want to learn more about what’s at stake in the budget negotiations. Hungerford notes polls show that the public does not want cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.
“The bottom line is the public appears to support the president’s position on taxes and neither party’s position regarding Social Security and Medicare,” writes Hungerford. “A ‘grand bargain’ that includes Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts is likely to be unpopular with American voters.”
Prior to joining EPI, Hungerford worked at the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Social Security Administration, and the Congressional Research Service.