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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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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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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A Diamond in the Rough?

There's much to criticize in President Obama's plan to cut non-security discretionary spending by five percent (of FY 2011 levels): That by the administration's own estimate, unemployment will be more than eight percent; that discretionary spending funds many important programs like providing nutrition to vulnerable children, protecting the public from lead-tainted toys and e. coli-tainted spinach, and putting police officers on the street; that there's mountains of unnecessary spending on security programs; and that over $1 trillion in IRS-administered spending will remain under the budget radar.

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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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Who Says We Need More C-17s...Oh Yeah, Congressional Missourians Do

A C-17 Globemaster III

As Congress gears up for its annual budget process, parochial-minded members are drawing their customary battle lines around administration-targeted programs. One of those is the C-17 transport plane, which the Pentagon has been trying to kill for several years because it deems the military to have ample airlift capacity. Last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted a press conference held by four congressional Missourians who, claiming to know better than the Pentagon, declared that they were going to fight the plane's proposed cancellation.

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Obama Requests Tool for the Wrong Job

President Obama has proposed to Congress "a new, expedited tool to reduce unnecessary or wasteful spending," lining up on the side of so-called fiscal conservatives to enhance the Executive's ability to force Congress to vote on measures that cut federal spending.

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CBO Monthly Budget Review, April 2010

Congressional Budget Office

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which economist James Galbraith suggested in yesterday's Washington Post should be eliminated because its "projections are indefensible, internally inconsistent and economically impossible," released on Friday one of its more accurate pieces of work, the Monthly Budget Review (MBR) for April.

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Commentary: Fiscal Hawks Shaping Focus of Debt Commission

On April 27, President Obama’s fiscal commission convened its first meeting, kicking off a seven-month discussion among 18 panelists on ways the federal government can reduce the federal budget deficit and shrink the national debt. The next day, many of those same panel members, including co-chairs Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), attended a "Fiscal Summit" organized by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to discuss the same issues. Talk about how to overcome deficits and the debt at the Peterson event, which centered on eviscerating the nation's social safety net, mirrored discussion at the commission meeting.

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TPC Releases New Long-Term Federal Budget Projections

It's the Budget, Stupid!

The Tax Policy Center (TPC), a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, released a new report yesterday examining the nation's budget outlook over, what TPC describes as, "10-year and long-term horizons." The paper, whose title recalls a famous Yogi Berra quote, examines these horizons under three sets of assumptions: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline, an extended policy scenario, and the administration's FY 2011 budget proposal.

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Senate Budget Committee Passes Budget Resolution With Larger Spending Cuts

On Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee passed the FY2011 budget resolution on a 12-10 vote. As predicted, the resolution calls for $4 billion in discretionary spending cuts, on top of President Obama's budget, which already proposed a non-security discretionary spending freeze for the next few fiscal years. The Committee's budget resolution would reduce the deficit to $575 billion in 2015, down from its current level of $1.4 trillion. Since OMB Watch already came out against the President's budget proposal as fiscally irresponsible, it's disappointing that the Budget Committee felt it necessary to outdo the President in spending cuts at a time when unemployment is still in the double-digits.

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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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