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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House Tries, Fails at SCHIP Expansion Veto Override

The Republican War on Children's Health continues($). The House failed Wednesday to override President Bush's second veto of a children's health insurance bill, again confounding Democrats' plans to expand government-sponsored health coverage to include an additional four million low-income kids.

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Economic Stimulus Package Update

Bush, Congress nearing accord, as Administration cedes some ground to Democrats House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and Congressional Republican leadership met with President Bush last night to discuss the broad outlines of an economic stimulus package. Bush came out of the meeting with a "very positive feeling" while Pelosi was "confident" that a bipartisan agreement could be reached. So, here's what the package is shaping up to be so far - these are the boundaries that will most likely contain the package.
  • $145 billion

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Samuelson Watch: This Week - He's Cynical, Yet Completely Lacking in Empathy

I don't know where to start with this week's Samuelson column ("Lollipop Economics"). It's a mess. I guess the quality control person at the Post had the day off. As expected, Samuelson devotes another chunk of prime pundit real estate to heft the long term fiscal imbalance on the shoulders of the Baby Boom generation and their impending retirement. This is, of course, just wrong, wrong, wrong. As has been documented numerous times, the fiscal challenges of the next fifty years lay squarely in the rapidly raising cost of health care.

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Latest Wage Data Show Earnings Decline

The latest wage data released by the Bureau of Labor statistics show that in 2007, when accounting for inflation, workers saw about a 1% decrease in pay. Average weekly earnings rose by 3.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, from December 2006 to December 2007. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly earnings decreased by 0.9 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and inflation, average weekly earnings were $605.96 in December 2007, compared with $578.67 a year earlier.

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Contact Us!

Questions, comments, suggestions, and glad tidings can now be directed to the BudgetBlog inbox at: (In an effort to prevent spam, our contact address appears as an image and without a link to the address.)

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Fiscal Policy in Response to Economic Downturns, Pt. 1: What is Fiscal Policy and Why Use It?

On Friday of last week (January 4), the Bureau of Labor Statistics released December employment data showing that the unemployment rate had jumped from 4.7 percent to 5.0 percent, causing many economists to predict a higher probability of recession in the coming quarters. Attention is now focused on policy makers in anticipation of an offering of some sort fiscal policy response. This series will lay out the basic mechanics of fiscal policy in response to economic downturns.

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Temporary and Targeted: The Basics of an Economic Stimulus Package

The release of dismal national jobs data on Jan. 4 has prompted rumblings from politicians in Washington about the need for an "economic stimulus package." On Jan. 7, President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson delivered separate speeches on the state of the economy, in which they addressed the basic outlines of a fiscal policy designed to mitigate the effects of a possible recession. Bush announced he is taking a stay-the-course approach while economists from across the political spectrum are calling for some type of stimulus package. The president could still offer a plan in his State of the Union speech at the end of January.

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Despite New Majority in Congress, Fiscal Policy Still Mostly Stuck in Neutral

A new congressional majority in 2007 promised a clean break from past practices of a Congress noted for its corruption, dysfunction and profligacy. It moved on a modest agenda and successfully enacted a few important policies, but overall, it failed to chart a new direction in fiscal policy. This failure was due in large part to the majority underestimating the ability and willingness of a coalition of conservative policymakers and the president to fiercely obstruct even the modest reform policies on the new Congress's agenda.

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Bernstein Notes Inequality Widening Apace

EPI's Jared Bernstein has an excellent analysis of the most recent CBO income distribution figures on TPM Cafe. Over those two years, the growth of inequality transferred $400 billion dollars from the bottom 95% to the top 5%. That is, had the income distribution remained as it was in 2003, the income of each of the 109 million households in the bottom 95% would have been $3,660 higher in 2005. His whole post is well worth a read.

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Bush Tax Cuts Illustrated

In addition to the report I wrote about earlier, the CBO has made the data underlying that report available in an Excel spreadsheet. Like Republicans and tax cuts, I just can't resist graphing income and tax data. So, here you go. This graph represents the shares of after-tax income for the lowest 4 quintiles and the top quintile. I knew the 2001-2003 Bush tax cuts were skewed toward the rich, but this graph really puts things into perspective. (Click on image to enlarge)

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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