Social Security and Medicare Benefit Cuts Still Possible in Fall Budget Deal

Cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits are still being actively considered in the ongoing discussions between Senate Republicans and the Obama administration, according to a new report in Politico.

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Senate Talks May Lead to Major Budget Deal this Fall

At least a dozen Republican senators are regularly meeting with President Obama’s top aides over a possible budget deal that may happen this fall, according to reports in National Journal and Politico.

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Danger Brewing on Tax Reform

The need for a more progressive tax system is clear. There is ample evidence, including the fact that while corporate profits are at a 60-year high, corporate taxes are near their 60-year low as a percentage of the economy.

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House GOP Seeking Some Bipartisan Support for Tax Reform Plan

The Republican chairman of the House tax-writing committee, Dave Camp (R-MI), is reportedly looking to pick up support from at least a few Democrats for the GOP tax reform plan, according to a story in Politico. The outreach follows previous indications that the House GOP would be willing to pass tax reform without the help of Democrats if necessary.

According to Politico:

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As DoD Furloughs Begin, Defense Industry Heightens Efforts to Reverse Sequestration

With furloughs for 650,000 civilian defense workers beginning today, the defense industry is ramping up its efforts to overturn sequestration. Under the Pentagon's revised plan, civilian defense workers will face one day without pay each week for the rest of the current federal fiscal year, which ends September 30.

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Key Senate Democrat Calls for 'Replacing' Sequestration, But With What?

On its face, a recent memo from Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA), released June 28, seems to be calling for an end to unrealistic spending cuts and austerity. But in calling on Congress to "replace" across-the-board spending cuts, called sequestration, the memo says very little about how to do this – which begs the question: replace sequestration with what?

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GAO: Average Corporate Tax Rate Is Just 13%

Profitable U.S. corporations pay 12.6 percent of their pre-tax worldwide income in federal corporate taxes, according a new report by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), released July 1 by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Tom Coburn (R-OK). Their effective tax rate is lower than that faced by the typical middle-class American.

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Key Senators Adopt 'Blank Slate' Approach to Tax Reform

The chairman and ranking Republican member of the Senate tax-writing committee today announced that they would take a "blank slate" approach to tax reform, assuming all tax breaks are eliminated and requiring senators to say which ones they want reinserted into the tax code.

The announcement was made in a letter from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Senators will have until July 26 to make their views known.

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Senate Republicans Wavering on Spending Cuts

The first sign of division over GOP-backed spending cuts emerged June 27 as six Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to support the Senate Democratic spending plan for transportation and housing programs.

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Petition: Tell the New York Times (and the media) to Make Budget Stories Easier to Understand has posted a petition asking The New York Times to report its budget stories in ways that ordinary citizens can understand.  They need your help on this. Understanding the budget is a necessary precursor to changing it!

According to the petition's background:

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