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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What Happens When We Tax the "Job Creators"

I'm not sure what a "job creator" is, but for Republicans leveling criticism at Obama's recent deficit reduction proposal, a "job creator" is simply a high-income earner. They argue that because many small business owners file their taxes as individuals, if individual income tax rates on individuals are increased, it will reduce the investment capital available for small businesses to hire more people.

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How Prepared is the Budget for a Disaster?

In the past week, the East Coast saw two natural disasters, both of which were thankfully much less destructive than they otherwise could've been. These disasters do, however, remind us that the federal government plays major roles in preparation, information dissemination, emergency response, and recovery aid for natural disasters and provide people with the assistance they need and expect when catastrophe strikes.

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Debt Ceiling Deal Erodes Public Protections, Government Services

The debt ceiling deal signed into law Aug. 2 will remake the federal budget process in the years to come. The procedures put in place by the new law are complex, and the final budgetary outcome will depend on a variety of factors. With $841 billion in immediate budget cuts, and with up to $2.5 trillion in total deficit reduction over the next 10 years, the law, known as the Budget Control Act (BCA), will have a profound effect on everything from public and environmental protections to education to federal information transparency.

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Democracy Demands High Level of Super Committee Transparency

During the past week, leaders of the House and Senate announced the members of the debt ceiling deal's Super Committee. Now, all eyes are turning to the committee's co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), to see if they will institute basic transparency standards that many within and outside government are calling for. With so much decision making power concentrated in the hands of just 12 members of Congress, the country deserves the maximum possible level of transparency in the committee's operations.

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First Glance at the Super Committee

As per the debt ceiling deal, the Budget Control Act of 2011, a 12-member special joint committee is to be created to produce legislation that will cut the deficit by $1.5 trilliion. The majority and minority leadership of both houses are tasked with selecting three members each to sit on this so-called Super Committte. Sen. McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Reid (D-NV), and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) made their appointments earlier this week, and by making her appointments today, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rounds out the Super Committee roster.

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The Biggest Loser in the Debt Ceiling Deal: American Democracy

Like everyone else in the country, at OMB Watch, we are trying to find a sliver of hope in the outcome of the debt ceiling debacle. We are relieved that default was avoided, since the immediate repercussions could have been worse than the volatility we've seen in recent days. But the debt deal effectively steals the instruments government has to try to heal our wounded economy. Financial analysts across the globe have noticed, and anxieties about the effects of sputtering U.S. consumer demand are deepening.

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Note to AFP, Gross Debt Is Not the Same as Public Debt

Teh Socialists are coming for your last penny!

An Agence France-Presse (AFP) piece making its way around the interwebs states, “US [sic] borrowing tops 100% of GDP: Treasury,” and goes on to explain, "US debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100 percent of gross domestic [product] [GDP] after the government's debt ceiling was lifted" earlier this week. The problem with this story is that our debt is nowhere near 100 percent of GDP, at least not the debt that matters.

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The Threat to Our Democracy from the Debt Ceiling Deal

The U.S. Capitol

Bob Greenstein, president of the well-respected Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), lays out the broader consequence of the self-inflicted debt ceiling crisis and, in short, it's a "terrifying" new framework of federal budget politics that enshrines minority rule and threatens to "undermine democracy."

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Commentary: Why Congress Needs to Pass a Clean Debt Ceiling Bill

Washington is embroiled in a massive debate over raising the debt ceiling, the statute that sets a limit on the amount of money the federal government can borrow. If the ceiling is not raised before Aug. 2, the nation could default on its debt, which could create immediate and long-term damage to an economy already beset with problems.

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The Silver Lining in the Tea Party Debt Commission*

They're here to kill teh socialism!

FreedomWorks – the Koch-addicted, Tea Party-associated bastard progeny of conservative wingnut and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey – is cobbling together a budget panel similar to last year's presidential debt commission. Ingeniously, the group has set such ridiculously stringent goals that the policies required to carry them out would have a devastating effect on the economy – wherein lies the comforting prospect of the effort.

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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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more resources