Washington is engaged in an all-consuming debate about how to resolve the "fiscal cliff" -- which we like to call, "the austerity crisis." But what is that, and why does it matter? We at Wonkblog put together a FAQ to sort it out.
It's rarely made headlines, but federal benefits for the unemployed are also scheduled to expire on Dec. 31 for some two million Americans. The ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee thinks that needs to be a priority in the ongoing budget negotiations.
The post-9/11 rise in military spending was larger than the rise during Vietnam and during the Cold War. And even if we implement every single cut in the sequester, the fall in spending would be less than the military experienced after Korea, Vietnam, or the Cold War.
In my conversations with the various players, I'm not hearing much concern about the austerity crisis. In fact, I'm hearing some confidence. December 21st, people keep saying. We'll have a deal by December 21st. And this is what it might look like.
A new poll shows that Obama voters think that reducing the deficit and getting entitlement programs on firmer financial footing should be a priority. But that doesn't necessarily they'll support the steps that lawmakers have been proposing to achieve that.
The Washington consensus on tax reform is that it'll solve all our problems: It slices, it dices, it cleans up after itself. But that’s not the economic profession’s consensus. If income tax reform solves any problem, it's a political one, not an economic one.
Many people thought we were seeing the outline of a deal: Republicans agree to raise revenues so long as they get the fig leaf of holding rates steady, or potentially even lowering them. The White House is saying the deal won't work.
$1.6 trillion. That's President Obama's opening bid for the amount he wants to raise more in tax revenues on corporations and the wealthy over the next decade. It's twice what Boehner offered him in their private negotiations in 2011.
There's renewed hope that we can reach a compromise on the Bush tax cuts by limiting tax expenditures rather than raising rates to get more revenue. But Romney's own tax plan revealed the big challenges of this approach.