This week, half of the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises celebrated their Opening Days, marking the first day of baseball season. Opening Day attendance can tell us a lot of things. For example, attendance at the Washington Nationals’ home opener was up 11% this year, due to high hopes for the team this season. But … Continue reading
Category Archives: Fiscal policy
If the Senate passes a bill to end the big-bank subsidy and nobody notices, does it matter?
Last Friday, among the flurry of amendments that the Senate passed before it adjourned for a two-week recess, the Brown-Vitter amendment, which pledged to end funding advantages to banks with more than $500 billion in assets, passed in a 99-0 vote. Great, right? Senator Vitter, one of the co-authors of the amendment, stated afterwards, “This … Continue reading
How is Your Money Being Spent?
Have you ever taken a close look at where your taxpayer dollars go? If not, maybe you should start. The government spends its money in some pretty ridiculous ways. Money is often wasted through silly use of grants, and legislatively through earmarks. Also known as “pork barrel” spending, earmark spending is funding added to the … Continue reading
Paul Ryan versus…what, exactly?
It’s budget season! Last week, the House Budget Committee released its annual budget proposal for FY 2014, the third iteration of the Ryan budget. But this year, for the first time since 2009, the Senate Budget Committee released its own proposal too. The release of both budgets last week was exciting not just for budget … Continue reading
Can Our Current Economy Support a Carbon Tax?
There has been some political buzz lately on how a carbon tax would affect the U.S. economy. Some of this is due to the recent introduction of climate legislation by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, on February 14th. Provisions of this two-part bill, the Climate … Continue reading
Are we giving “too big to fail” banks $83 billion a year?
The short answer is: maybe. On Wednesday, during the Senate Banking Committee hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren grilled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the $83 billion implicit subsidy that big banks receive from low interest rates. That night, Fox Business News’ Gerri Wilson misquoted the figure, expressing outrage over the “$83 trillion dollars, you know, … Continue reading
The Sequester: A perplexity inside and outside Washington
And so we enter another manufactured financial crisis here in Washington. The U.S. government is on the precipice of implementing massive spending cuts to federal programs. Totaling $1.2 trillion over the next decade, these cuts, known as (cue the headline buzzword) the “sequester,” will cut nearly every federal program’s budget by 8.2%. Both the left … Continue reading
What’s Driving Growth in Spending on Means-Tested Programs
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released an interesting infographic depicting the growth since 1972 in spending on federal means-tested programs and tax credits, such as Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program). The expansion of such programs has been staggering: … Continue reading
Social Security: A Little Reform Today Might Solve a Big Problem Tomorrow
The CBO’s budget and economic outlook, released last week, looks bleak. And one of the drivers of future budget shortfalls? Social Security. During the Feb. 13th house budget hearing on CBO’s outlook, Rep. John Campbell (CA) asked Doug Elmendorf – CBO Director – if we were in a pickle with regards to the U.S. budget. … Continue reading
Taxing Your Soda and Pop
What are your thoughts about a federal tax on sugary drinks (ie. Soda, energy, and sports drinks)? The Field Poll, a non-partisan media-sponsored public opinion news service, found an interesting result in their survey of Californians’ views on the tax on sugary drinks. Approximately 40 percent of California residents voted in support of a soda … Continue reading
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