'Tax Freedom Day' is a Hoax

Celebrating Tax Freedom Day...

A recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) attempts to clear up some confusion about the average American's tax burden propagated by the Tax Foundation, a center-right tax policy joint.

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Tell the Senate to Vote No on Disastrous Discretionary Spending Caps

In what looks like an attempt to out-fiscal-hawk President Obama, Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have introduced an amendment that would impose strict limits on discretionary spending for the next three years. The amendment sets limits far lower than Obama's already low budget proposal, and it even includes a cap on defense discretionary spending, something the President's proposal does not do. Such caps would result in drastic cuts to many vital economic safety net programs and public protection agencies, negatively impacting the lives of millions of Americans. And while the two senators claim that the amendment will reduce the deficit, in reality, because discretionary spending is so little of the federal budget, the amendment's deficit-reducing effects will be minimal.

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Oregon Ballot Initiatives Could Show Path Forward in Federal Tax Debate

The Great State of Oregon

In the midst of the media's recent myopic focus on the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), the fourth estate has largely overlooked the fact that Oregon voters approved measures at the ballot box in January to increase taxes on wealthy citizens and corporations to help bring the state back into fiscal balance. Earlier this week, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a short paper on the implications those votes could have in Congress on the debate over the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts.

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Is the Senate Going to Allow the Estate Tax to Die?

R.I.P, Estate Tax...For Now

According to a Wall Street Journal article published this morning, efforts to pass some sort of estate tax extension in the upper chamber broke down late Wednesday afternoon. It seems the Democratic caucus can't agree on whether to permanently or temporarily extend 2009 estate tax levels. Though legislators are already promising to address the issue as soon as they return from the holidays, there is still time left to pass something. OMB Watch and a host of other organizations have submitted a letter to the Senate urging them to take action. Ironically enough for those who would champion the tax's death on Jan. 1, the consequences of inaction for small businesses and farms are costlier than extension.

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Deconstructing the Deficit

When discussing the federal budget deficit, I should be clear that reducing it right now is absolutely the wrong policy to pursue. It will likely strangle the meager recovery that's underway, and attention should primarily be focused on reducing the growing cost of health care. Having said all that, if deficit reduction must be addressed right now, it's important to first understand its composition.

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House Set to Vote on Pomeroy Estate Tax Bill

The Biltmore Estate

The House plans to take up estate tax reform as early as tomorrow with a vote on Rep. Earl Pomeroy's (D-ND) Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009 (H.R. 4154). The Pomeroy bill would permanently extend current estate tax law at a $7 million exemption for couples at a 45 percent rate. Without congressional action this year, the estate tax will expire in 2010 and then come back in 2011 under its pre-Bush tax cut levels of a $2 million exemption for couples at a 55 percent rate. OMB Watch has submitted a statement of support to Rep. Pomeroy's office, and several other non-profits have come out with reports to back up the legislation.

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Recovery Act Job Creation Numbers, cont.

As a follow up to Craig's earlier post on the AP article/Recovery Act job numbers, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities just put up a great article on what we will and will not see, data-wise, on Oct. 30, when the rest of the recipient reports are published. The timely report serves as a reminder that the recipient reporting doesn't cover most Recovery Act spending, nor does it reflect many of the jobs "created" by the Act.

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Experts Foresee Disturbing Trend out of Recent Census Data

Brookings Institution

With yesterday's release of the Census Bureau's report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage for Americans in 2008, most economists and analysts agree that while the numbers are bad, next year's numbers will be worse and that trend could continue for a number of years.

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OMB and CBO Produce Similar *Dire* Deficit Numbers


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released strikingly similar updated budget and economic outlook numbers this morning. As expected, the budget deficit will come in just under earlier predictions. OMB's Mid-Session Review places the government's total red ink for the year at $1.58 trillion, while CBO estimates $1.6 trillion. The government's long-term debt, which the White House now predicts will grow faster than previous estimates, will stand at 9.05 trillion in ten years. CBO paints a slightly rosier picture, projecting the 10-year debt to stand at $7.14 trillion, but admits that their assumptions about projected revenues over that time are high by historical standards, and, conversely, their assumptions about projected discretionary spending are low. Although these estimates are hardly certain, especially the long-term debt numbers, there is no doubt they will generate a great deal of discussion.

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CBPP: States May Soon Resemble Bartertown in Mel Gibson Sci-Fi Classic

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Here's a shock: state budgets are not doing so good. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a report today cataloging the gory details.

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