New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Cheaper at Half the Price

According to the results of a joint NPR-Kaiser Family Foundation-Kennedy School of Government poll released last month -- and confirmed by almost every other poll on Americans' attitudes toward tax cuts - we are all in favor of tax breaks, until we understand what we have to give up in return.

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Deficits and Debt and Tax Cuts

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan doesn't think that tax cuts are needed now and warns about the danger of growing budget deficits. (See this New York Times article). Recently, the International Monetary Fund issued its economic report that advised the US against passing more tax cuts. Hundreds of economists, including a number of Nobel Laureates, oppose tax cuts. According to a number of polls, most Americans don't want more tax cuts, either.

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Fool Me Once, Shame on You, Fool Me Twice?

For the second time, in as many years, the President and his tax-slashing allies in Congress have passed a budget that calls for massive tax cuts. Though the recent precedent-setting effort of congressional Republicans last week to pass a budget resolution by agreeing to different tax cut packages leaves much uncertainty about just how large a tax cut the country will be saddled with, a large tax giveaway seems assured. Within the next several weeks, we will learn whether this round of tax cuts will be limited to the Senate's $350 billion or be as high as the House's $550 billion, but this is just the beginning: the budget resolution actually provides for a total of $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years. Whatever is decided, the tax cuts will be far more than the country can afford. As a result, most of us, and future generations, will be stuck footing the bill for a huge expenditure that will do little, if anything, to stimulate the economy, lower the unemployment rate, close the ever-widening gaps in state budgets, meet the educational needs of our children, or address the shortfall in Social Security or pay for a prescription drug plan for our seniors.

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Dynamic Disappointment

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the final version of its March 7 report, entitled “An Analysis of the President’s Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2004.” The revised version of this report was eagerly awaited for its special section on the “Potential Macroeconomic Effects of the President’s Budgetary Proposals.” A macroeconomic – or “dynamic” – evaluation has never been offered by CBO, and both proponents and critics of the controversial scoring method were anxious to learn what the CBO report would reveal. For many, it seems that the long-awaited results were disappointing in their ambiguity.

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House Passes Budget Resolution of Huge Tax Cuts, Program Cuts; Senate Votes Weds.

The House passed its FY 2004 budget resolution last week, officially kicking off the Congressional budget debates for the coming fiscal year. The Senate voted to preserve all but $100 billion of the President’s tax cut, but won’t complete work on the budget resolution until Wednesday, March 26. Though the budget resolutions of each chamber reflect much of the President’s own budget proposals, and especially his $726 billion tax cut, neither resolution passed without a great deal of effort among Republican leaders to ensure that Congressional members voted together.

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Committee for Economic Development (CED) Opposes the President?s Plan

The Committee for Economic Development (CED), an influential organization of business leaders and educators, released a report on March 5, 2003, titled "Exploding Deficits, Declining Growth: The Federal Budget and the Aging of America."

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Responses to President's FY 2004 Budget Proposal

The President issued his FY 2004 budget proposal February 3, which was received with accolades by some and with great criticism by others worried that several key education, housing and environmental programs would suffer under his proposed funding levels. Included in this article are links to OMB Watch analyses, as well as the responses of other organizations and Members of Congress.

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Tax Cut Fever: What the Budget Future May Hold

With the shake-up in the Administration’s economic team, the recent rise in the unemployment rate to 6% (the highest rate in eight years), and absolutely no evidence that the massive Bush tax cut has done anything but send the federal budget on a rapid spiral into deficit, a reasonable person might think that it was time for the Administration to reevaluate the idea that tax cuts are the solution to everything. The President’s economic stimulus plan, currently in the design phase, however, is expected to consist of tax cuts aimed at corporations and individuals in the higher tax brackets.

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Budget Process Rules the Senate

As noted on these pages many times over the last few months, the Senate is unique in its traditions and rules. One feature that helped earn the Senate the title of the “world’s greatest deliberative body” is its rules that allow for, and even necessitate, policy debates, which are a vital part of the legislative process. These rules push the Senate to work out differences between conflicting legislative proposals and help ensure that the voice of the minority is protected. To extend this principle to tax and spending issues, the Senate has special rules.

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Why Federal Budget Rules Matter

As we often try to remember on these pages, the federal budget, which may superficially appear to be merely a convoluted collection of insignificant numbers, is actually the decoder ring to a better understanding of our country’s real priorities -- since not a lot happens to improve a problem without spending money, the federal budget reveals which problems our country’s policy makers are working to improve. Even less understood and farther removed from our daily lives are the intricacies of federal budget rules. These rules, which govern how the House and Senate must work to craft the country’s annual budget, are in place to ensure that sufficient time is given to debating and developing the a course for tackling the nation’s problems.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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