The Bottom Line: Debate on Necessity of Additional Stimulus

In response to high unemployment numbers, the Obama Administration is discussing the idea of a tax credit for employers that create new jobs. House Republican whip Eric Cantor demonstrated the likely broad bipartisan appeal of this type of a tax credit by saying, “There is a lot of traction for this kind of idea. If the White House will take the lead on this, I’m fairly positive it would be welcomed in a bipartisan fashion.”...

The Bottom Line: Memo for FY2011 Budget Preparation: Positive Effects from Preannouncing Deficit Reduction

Faced with massive debt burdens coming out of the economic and financial crisis – even before the retirement and health care tsunami hits – experts agree we need to get our fiscal house in order, ideally under our own steam - before changes are forced upon us by our creditors. Experts also agree that acting sooner rather than later will mean that the fiscal downsizing needed will be smaller and less painful. Is there anything we can do in the near future (like maybe next year’s budget round) without undercutting the recovery?

The Bottom Line: September Unemployment Rate and Uncertain Outlook


To those watching the economy as it enters into positive territory and the financial markets as they seemed to be getting into gear again, today’s unemployment report suggested that market traders had gotten ahead of the economic curve...

The Bottom Line: The U.S. Taxpayer and the IMF

For the U.S. taxpayer, last weekend’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Turkey were a reminder of the importance of global cooperation to tackle the economic and financial crisis. As we (hopefully) enter a new phase of economic and financial recovery, global cooperation will continue to be critical for taxpayer interests. It is probably fair to say that our fiscal and monetary stimulus policies have yielded more bang for the buck because other countries took similar steps at the same time, unlike the 1930s when “beggar-thy-neighbor” policies were the norm...

The Bottom Line: G-20 Summit's Fiscal and Financial News

It would be easy to dismiss the recent G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh as just more political babble, more empty business as usual just among more countries – but you would be wrong. The Summit’s agenda was pragmatic and ambitious, perhaps one of the most ambitious in awhile. And, contrary to what some pundits cautioned, the array of possible deliverables in the next year is mind-numbing, from fiscal policy to financial sector reform to energy policy. Now that G-20 leaders have given their seals of approval on a wide-ranging agenda and areas of agreement and disagreement have been sorted out in Pittsburgh, a series of international follow up meetings will take place among cabinet ministers, central bankers, and technical experts...

The Bottom Line: The G-20 Summit and Beyond

As the G-20 Summit gets underway in Pittsburgh, what should we hope to hear from the G-20 leaders?

  1. That they are prepared to continue supporting economic and financial sector recovery through appropriate monetary and fiscal policies. While the G-20 economies are showing signs of improvement, we are not out of the woods yet. Recovery is expected to be weaker than usual, which makes the economy vulnerable to economic or financial surprises. Plus, the risk of a double dip recession remains...

The Bottom Line: New Fiscal Roadmap Project Paper on “Deficit Reduction: Lessons From Around the World”

The U.S. economy appears to be gradually recovering, and positive growth is expected now and for the rest of the year. Looking ahead, however, U.S. policymakers will need to take steps to put our fiscal house in order once the recovery is on firmer footing. In the absence of policy change, U.S. debt is headed sharply upward coming out of the current economic and financial crisis – and this is even before the Baby Boom retirement tsunami hits the budget.

For all Americans, this means that a growing portion of the budget will be devoted to interest payments on debt service – rather than on new, important pro-growth priorities related to environmental and infrastructure initiatives, for example. Our standards of living and well-being will undoubtedly suffer over time. This is no way for a great nation to conduct its business.

The Bottom Line: Chairman's Mark of Finance Committee Bill, and Proposed Amendments

Today, the Senate Finance Committee is continuing to mark-up the Committee’s health care reform bill. In total, the Committee is considering 564 amendments (see New Health Dialogue’s live twitter feed here) to the “Chairman’s Mark” put forward by Senator Max Baucus. As CRFB has shown, the original version of that Mark would reduce the ten-year deficit by around $50 billion and the tenth year deficit by around $16 billion. Beyond the ten year window, the Congressional Budget Office expected the bill to go even further in reducing deficits, doing so to the tune of half a percent of GDP in the second decade...

The Bottom Line: Pressure to Extend Expiring Stimulus Provisions Likely

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his support for the extension of the First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit by signing on as a cosponsor to a new bill that would extend the existing credit for 6 more months. “[Yesterday] we learned that new home sales have increased in Las Vegas, and that’s good news,” he explained. “I hope this credit will build on that so more Nevadans can realize the American dream of homeownership.”...

Decoding California's May Special Election

It's no easy thing for Californians to figure out exactly what the six measures on the May 19 special election ballot do. For one thing, the Legislature and Governor did their best to hide the real impact of the measures by ordering up some glossy campaign-speak to decorate the titles and summaries on the ballot. It's easier to sell "budget reform" and "lottery modernization" than a tax increase (Proposition 1A) and more borrowing (Proposition 1C).

But even without the deceit, these measures do not yield to a quick study. For the first time in the nation's history voters are being asked to amend a state constitution to require the use of linear regression in determining how much the state will invest in higher education, health, and environmental protection. If it were necessary for a voter to actually explain how Proposition 1A works before being allowed to vote for it, I suspect it would get less than 1 percent of the vote.

As hard are the measures to understand, it may be harder still for them to answer the critical question: What do they mean for California? What signal will voters be sending by passing them?