Last week I wrote about how the deficit supercommittee has so far held the majority of its meetings in complete secrecy. Well, as it turns out, that's not exactly true. According to Politico, the committee members have choosen a select group of citizens to give special access to their private meetings to. You and I just happen to not be on the list.Read Full Article
Should taxes be on the table for balancing the budget, or should we look at spending cuts only? This is they key partisan debate right now in Congress, and it's going to come to a head in the next few weeks when the House and Senate vote on the debt limit and, likely, some kind of structural enforcement mechanism for bringing annual deficits down to zero.Read Full Article
President Obama on Monday announced the "framework" of a deal with congressional Republicans for dealing with the looming expiration of the Bush tax cuts. It's a two-year deal, and it includes a bunch of other stuff, all at a cost about $900 billion. None of it is offset, so this will be a direct increase in the deficit. Let's take a look at the specifics of what's included:Read Full Article
Even as details leak out about a deal in the works between President Obama and both parties in Congress to temporarily extend all of the Bush tax cuts, the Senate was in session Saturday to hold votes on two Democratic proposals on how to deal with the issue. Needless to say, they both failed. But the roll call results tell us a good deal about where the debate over taxes and, more generally, the deficit stands, so let's have a look.Read Full Article
In the final days of the pre-election congressional session, the combination of everybody in Congress wanting to do something to boost the economy while at the same time being unwilling to go near anything that would add to the deficit led to some creative legislating.
You've probably heard about the bill that the House passed last week (H.R.2378) to put tariffs on Chinese imports in order to pressure them into letting their currency appreciate. Well, on the same day they voted on that bill, they passed something else designed to help the economy that has gotten less attention. That bill, the "Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010," is aimed at giving the Treasury Department authority to take a look at an obscure issue in our monetary system, the fact that it's costing the government these days nearly 2 cents to make a penny and nearly 10 cents to make a nickel.Read Full Article
Having pushed aside energy/oil spill legislation until the lame-duck session, the weeks between when Congress reconvenes from the August recess on September 13 and before they adjourn for election season in October will be focused on one thing -- saving the U.S. economy from slipping deeper into recession. There's a small business jobs bill on tap (H.R. 5297), a vague plan to do something with the expiring Bush tax cuts, and now, according to the Wall Street Journal, a new jobs package from the Obama Administration.Read Full Article