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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Iraq Reconstruction IG Nabs a Couple Bad Guys

U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

The office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released its 24th quarterly report on Saturday. If you haven't been paying attention to what's been going on in Iraq recently, it's worth a read. Besides providing observations on what's happening in the country and detailing the sources and uses of reconstruction funds, the inspector general's report also describes their recent oversight activities and successes in rooting out corruption within government contracting overseas.

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Board Releases New Features for

While the entire rest of the fiscal policy world is obsessing about the budget, I thought I'd take a minute to talk about the other major event of the week, the release of the second round of Recovery Act recipient reporting. We're still working on sifting through the reports themselves, but the website,, also received an overhaul this weekend. While many of the site's new features still have a long way to go, it's encouraging to see the Recovery Board, which is responsible for the site, actively working to improve the website, despite the fact that public attention has largely moved on.

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Second Round of Recovery Act Recipient Reports Released Saturday

As a reminder, tomorrow the Recovery Board will release the next batch of recipient reports on The new reports will be released along with a limited overhaul of the site, which will feature a new search option, a "diversity map," and a job search function. We'll be reviewing these new features, and the new reports, on Monday.

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CBO Recovery Act Cost Estimate Rises to $862 Billion

I'm sure you all already read all of the Congressional Budget Office's 2010 Budget Outlook since I blogged about it the other day, but in case you missed it, the outlook also included a special section on the Recovery Act. The main take away from this section is that the CBO predicts that the overall cost of the Act will be higher than initially estimated, thanks to a couple of factors.

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CBO: 2010 Deficit to Fall to $1.35 Trillion

In case you missed it, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its 2010 Budget Outlook, its yearly look at the health of the federal budget. CBO's director, Doug Elmendorf, provides the basics of the report:

CBO projects, that if current laws and policies remained unchanged, the federal budget would show a deficit of $1.35 trillion for fiscal year 2010. At 9.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), that deficit would be slightly smaller than the shortfall of 9.9 percent of GDP ($1.4 trillion) posted in 2009.

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The End of TARP to Be Met with Controversy

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) began with a single, basic idea: prevent imminent economic collapse. With that premise, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson convinced Congress and President Bush to authorize $700 billion of emergency spending to undertake actions to avert such disaster. Now, with economic catastrophe averted but with the nation's economy still struggling, a new report turns policymakers' focus to the end of TARP.

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CBO Report Evaluates Employment Policy Options

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that examines "the potential role and efficacy of fiscal policy options in increasing economic growth and employment...over the next two years."

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Knee-Capping Budget Thuggery from OMB?

WaPo's Federal Eye (AKA Ed O'Keefe) reported this morning that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is investigating whether the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is threatening inspectors general (IGs) for reporting to Congress insufficient FY 2011 budget levels.

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The Recovery Act Spending That Wasn't There

Recovery Act recipient reporting has received a great deal of attention in the media, and while some of this coverage has been critical (reporting on non-existent congressional districts or ZIP codes, unreliable job creation numbers, etc.), many news articles portray comprehensive oversight of the act because of transparency requirements in the law. However, approximately two-thirds of the spending in the Recovery Act bypasses these requirements, leading to a dearth of information about how the money is being spent. As time passes and Recovery Act spending continues, this lack of data is becoming more apparent, as highlighted by a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) report showing that millions of dollars in Recovery Act tax breaks are vulnerable to tax fraud.

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A New Year, a New Reporting Cycle Begins

Just a friendly reminder that on January 1, the clock began on the second Recovery Act recipient reporting cycle. Prime and sub recipients have from January 1 to January 15 to submit their reports to, recipients will edit these reports from then until January 22, and agencies will then have until January 29 to review the reports. Everything will be published on on Saturday, January 30.

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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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