Budget

Primer on the Debt Ceiling

I forgot to post this short doc back in July 2018. Philip Wallach is the lead author. My sense is debt ceiling quite likely will come back s a salient political issue in the near future.

Could Democrats and Republicans both benefit from bringing back earmarks?

Discussions about bringing back earmarks have flared up on Capitol Hill in recent years. Democrats in particular have expressed interest in reviving procedures whereby members of the House of Representatives could have more power to direct appropriations to specific projects in their home districts. “You just can’t expect somebody over there at

The exasperating politics of pensions and trust funds

Across the United States, myriad pension and trust funds are in trouble. Serious trouble. The U.S Postal Service’s retiree health benefits fund is underfunded by $70 billion and will be depleted in 10 years. In Illinois, the state’s teacher pension fund is 60 percent underfunded. Kentucky’s public pension is so underfunded that some

The broken budget process is a democracy reform issue

It is difficult to overstate how wrecked the federal budget process is. Late last month, President Trump signed a 30-day stopgap funding measure to dodge a government shutdown. This was the second time this autumn that Congress and the president had to resort to such a continuing resolution. Governing through

Permanent appropriations: Might they improve the budget process?

If you have not read Prof. Andrew Taylor’s article in the latest copy of National Affairs, you should. It is titled, “Reforming the Appropriations Process.” and is interesting and provocative. Certainly it made me think. He argues for making appropriations permanent. Doing so would stabilize spending and avoid the high dramas of government shutdowns,

We might actually get budget reform this year

This past week, Congress held another hearing on budget reform. Two former budget committee chairmen, Leon Panetta and David Obey, both testified. They lamented the current state of congressional budgeting and identified aspects of the 1974 Budget Act that discourage fiscally responsible and timely annual budgeting. Readers might be tempted to shrug this off

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