CBO Monthly Budget Review, June 2010

Can a Piggy Bank be 'Underwater'?

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Monthly Budget Review (MBR) for the month of June, providing a review of the federal budget through the first nine months of fiscal year 2010. It seems that revenues were about the same as they were last year at this time, but spending was down about 3 percent. These factors have combined to provide the country with a roughly $1.0 trillion deficit so far this year, which is "about $80 billion less than the shortfall last year at this time."

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Could Social Security Cuts be closer than We Think?

Scissors Beat Paper

That's the question Brian Beutler over at Talking Points Memo raises this morning while reporting on the possibility of a bipartisan consensus on scaling back Social Security benefits materializing in Congress. Recognizing that such a proposal is usually "the third rail of American politics," Beutler lays out the not-impossible scenario of deficit-weary members of Congress sacrificing the relatively solvent entitlement program of Social Security before the alter of fiscal austerity.

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Krugman: Unemployed and the Country at Large Need UI Extension

Mr. Paul Krugman

Writing in the New York Times over the long weekend, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman continued to make the case for more government stimulus of the economy. He wasn't advocating for the usual stimulus that funds road and bridge projects or shores up state budgets – though that is still needed. He was promoting unemployment insurance (UI), which is helping to hold the economy together by keeping the jobless in their homes and food on their tables as they slog through "the worst job market since the Great Depression."

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Budget Process Begins to Move Along in Congress

The U.S. Capitol Building

Yesterday, while passing a rule setting debate on a supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democratic members of the House tacked on a "budget enforcement resolution" that lays out spending priorities for the next fiscal year. Additionally, with several Appropriations subcommittees recently passing FY 2011 spending bills, it seems Congress is beginning to move the ball on the budget process.

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Mischaracterizing the Deficit Debate

I couldn't find a photo of just two people debating...

Ryan McNeely had an interesting post over at Think Progress this afternoon on Roll Call's recent "extremely flattering profile" of Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), a leader among the Blue Dog Coalition in the House. McNeely notes that the article portrays Herseth Sandlin "as a thorn in the side of [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi [D-CA], bravely defending the nation from increased deficits." Of course, the problem with that description, like the media's general portrayal of the debate on deficits and debt, is that it is so oversimplified that "it does a grave disservice to our discourse."

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Senators to Introduce Progressive-ish Estate Tax Measure

Rich People don't Keep their Money in Piggy Banks

The Budget Brigade has learned that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as co-sponsors, will soon introduce the "Responsible Estate Tax Act." While the bill would essentially reinstate the estate tax at 2009 levels – exempting the first $3.5 million of an individual's estate ($7 million for couples) – it has a more progressive tax rate structure that targets the wealthiest one quarter of one percent of the population, and protects small businesses and family farms.

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Administration Unveils New Fraud-Fighting Measures

This is presumably not what the 'do not pay' list will look like

Writing in his Federal Eye blog over at the Washington Post, Ed O'Keefe put up an interesting piece this morning about the Obama administration creating a government "do not pay" list to help prevent certain improper payments, and ordering the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to begin using a Recovery Act fraud-fighting tool.

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Economic Costs of Inaction Should Make State Aid a No-Brainer for Congress

Does this adequately convey the allusion to a 'no-brainer'?

In a post this morning on his Beat the Press blog, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) economist Dean Baker makes an interesting point when he laments the one-sided economic reporting on President Obama's recent request for quick action on several economic stimulus measures languishing in Congress. While the president's demand would add nearly $80 billion to budget deficits over the next decade, inaction on these aid measures will likely reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by $120 billion and eliminate 800,000 jobs.

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CBO Monthly Budget Review, May 2010

Current Deficit Spending is Good

In his recent blog post detailing his agency's latest Monthly Budget Review (MBR), Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf opens by remarking, "The federal budget deficit was $941 billion during the first eight months of fiscal year 2010." To some, that number is a bewildering reminder of what they see as a dysfunctional and wasteful federal government. To others, it's a sign of how badly the Great Recession has affected the economic health of our country, and, after digging deeper into the numbers, shows that more – not less – needs to be done.

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OMB Watch and 29,000 Others Comment on Inherently Governmental Proposal

Add your comment

Last week, OMB Watch submitted comments to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the contracting regulatory authority within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), regarding their proposed policy letter on reforming "inherently governmental" guidelines. Through our petition drive with CREDO Action, we spurred 29,402 people to write to OFPP to tell the agency what they thought about the proposed guidelines as well.

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