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Brian Riedl: Why Did Americans Stop Caring About the National Debt?
Posted: July 13, 2024 at 06:00 AM (Saturday)

Both parties—and the voters—are to blame for the national debt fiasco. Scroll down to see how big the national debt may get over the next few decades, and then read about how we got here. When President Joe Biden delivered his 2023 State of the Union address, Washington was drowning in a sea of red ink. The annual budget deficit was in ...

Brian Riedl: More Inflation, Less Growth, and Higher Deficits
Posted: June 26, 2024 at 08:00 AM (Wednesday)

Assessing the two major presidential nominees' economic agendas. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump head into this week's first presidential debate with polls showing a virtual dead heat. The election is likely to turn on economic issues, with voters expressing serious concerns over persistent inflation, rising interest ...

Brian Riedl: Debt will hit a shocking $50 trillion by 2034, as DC continues to spend, spend, spend
Posted: June 19, 2024 at 06:33 PM (Wednesday)

While Congress and the presidential campaigns continue with business as usual — pledging more government giveaways and deep tax cuts — the government’s own accountants have once again revealed that the era of free lunch economics is over. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released new budget estimates showing that this year’s budget ...

Brian Riedl: Raising the Tax Cap Cannot Save Social Security
Posted: May 2, 2024 at 11:13 AM (Thursday)

It would not eliminate the shortfall but would crowd out other priorities. A new campaign season has predictably brought a new round of partisan Social Security wars. Even as the system's trust fund moves within a decade of insolvency–which would trigger an automatic 23 percent reduction in benefits–both Democrats and Republicans are fighting ...

Brian Riedl: Don’t Bust the Cap: Problems with Eliminating the Social Security Tax Cap
Posted: April 11, 2024 at 06:00 AM (Thursday)

Social Security's deepening funding shortfalls are driving the system's trust fund to within a decade from insolvency, which would mean an immediate 23% reduction in benefits. Social Security's program deficits–which budget experts have warned for decades would occur as the 74 million baby boomers retire–remain largely ignored by politicians ...

Brian Riedl: The Rich Aren’t Rich Enough to Balance the Federal Budget
Posted: January 22, 2024 at 06:36 PM (Monday)

America already has the most progressive tax system in the developed world. As budget deficits surge toward the stratosphere, Congress will soon have to get serious about savings proposals. Yet reforming Social Security and Medicare—the leading drivers of long-term deficits—remains a political nonstarter. Neither party is willing to ...

Brian Riedl: Why cutting IRS funding is not a conservative move
Posted: December 19, 2023 at 06:00 AM (Tuesday)

Last year, President Biden and congressional Democrats enacted $80 billion in new IRS funding for the next decade. During the debt limit debate earlier this year, Republicans successfully negotiated a $20 billion cut in that funding. And now, in the appropriations showdown, they're going after the rest ...

Brian Riedl: 2023 Chart Book Examines Spending, Taxes, and Deficits
Posted: November 8, 2023 at 11:00 AM (Wednesday)

As interest rates soar and the budget deficit doubles to $2 trillion, the Manhattan Institute's Brian Riedl has released the 2023 edition of his book of charts examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits.The 133-page chart book begins by broadly examining the rising budget deficits and national debt and then dives deeper to ...

Brian Riedl: The 2024 presidential candidates are whiffing on the economy
Posted: November 7, 2023 at 07:20 AM (Tuesday)

" Surging U.S. budget deficits have already contributed to rising inflation and a tripling of interest rates."What solutions have been offered to fix unsustainable budget deficits? None. At the third Republican presidential debate on November 8th, U.S. voters will likely hear a deluge of insults, interruptions, canned jokes and empty ...

Brian Riedl: This Tax Day, we're paying more than ever as DC drives up debt
Posted: April 17, 2023 at 01:15 PM (Monday)

Taxpayers are racing to submit their 1040s and beat the IRS’s Tuesday tax deadline. Yet their payments — which are contributing to the highest sustained tax burden in American history — cannot keep pace with Washington’s spending spree. This year, Washington will collect $36,313 per household in tax revenues (this includes all federal taxes, ...

Brian Riedl: Social Security and Medicare Insolvency Dates Are a Distraction
Posted: April 4, 2023 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Program deficits are already escalating. Last week, the Social Security and Medicare trustees revealed that the trust funds will cover full benefits until 2031 for Medicare, and 2033 for Social Security's Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program. These insolvency dates, which had been estimated at 2028 and 2034 a year ago, feed the ...

Brian Riedl: America Is Ignoring Its Bulging Budget
Posted: March 7, 2023 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

New CBO projections show a deteriorating fiscal situation, but no one seems to care. The Congressional Budget Office released its first new federal-budget projections in nearly a year last month. If you missed it, you are not alone. Even as the CBO showed budget deficits soaring toward unsustainable levels, most of the print media ...

Brian Riedl: Biden’s Promises on Social Security and Medicare Have No Basis in Reality
Posted: February 21, 2023 at 06:42 AM (Tuesday)

In his State of the Union speech this month, President Biden pledged to block any reductions in scheduled Social Security and Medicare benefits. He also promised that any tax increases would be limited to families that earn more than $400,000 – roughly the top-earning 2 percent of American families. Together, these promises are almost ...

Brian Riedl: How Fiscal Conservatives Should Approach the Debt Limit
Posted: January 26, 2023 at 06:30 AM (Thursday)

Default must be ruled out, and sensible budget reforms are possible. As Washington hits the $31.4 trillion debt limit (and begins using accounting gimmicks to borrow until summer), the new Republican House majority is gearing up for a fight to extract budget savings. There's a saying that warns, Never take a hostage you are not willing to ...

Brian Riedl: The pain isn’t goin’ away: Inflation cost households an extra $10K
Posted: December 22, 2022 at 10:49 PM (Thursday)

Inflation is over, the administration crows, even as Congress works to pass another massive spending bill – this time, $1.7 trillion. But struggling families know not to pop the cork yet. The consumer price index rose just 0.1% last month, bringing the 12-month rate to 7.1% – still higher than any year since the disco days of 1981. ...

Brian Riedl: The Omnibus Spending Bill Is Symptomatic of a Broken Congress
Posted: December 21, 2022 at 04:35 PM (Wednesday)

Congressional leaders are again bullying rank-and-file members into passing a massive funding package under the threat of a government shutdown. The new omnibus spending bill is merely the latest evidence that Congress's dismal 22 percent approval rating is well deserved. The Democratic majorities in both chambers spent much of the ...

Brian Riedl: Utopia’s Price
Posted: December 15, 2022 at 02:44 PM (Thursday)

Leftist legislators have yet to reckon with it. The progressive movement, we are often told, represents the future of American politics. It boasts millions of passionate (mostly younger) activists and generally dominates universities, think tanks, Hollywood, and the media. Progressive politicians such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, ...

Brian Riedl: New Data Shatter the Conventional Wisdom on Spending, Taxes, and Deficits
Posted: November 8, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Biden claims he has reduced the deficit, but the math doesn’t add up. Last week, I released the 2022 edition of my annual book of charts examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits. The 128-page book uses publicly available data from leading government sources to shatter much of the conventional wisdom on economics. And ...

Brian Riedl: 2022 Chart Book Examines Spending, Taxes, and Deficits
Posted: October 31, 2022 at 09:33 AM (Monday)

The Manhattan Institute's Brian Riedl has released the 2022 edition of his book of charts examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits. The 128-page chart book begins by broadly examining the rising budget deficits and national debt–well beyond the temporary recession deficits–and then dives deeper to show the policies driving ...

Brian Riedl: Pandemic Fraud and Waste Is a National Scandal
Posted: October 11, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Lawmakers need to learn lessons from the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste from Covid-relief programs. A Florida man fraudulently used a $7.2 million emergency loan to purchase a 12,579-square-foot mansion and several cars. A California couple fraudulently collected $18 million and purchased three houses, diamonds, gold coins, ...

Brian Riedl: Biden's bragging about the economy just proves how financially illiterate he is
Posted: September 13, 2022 at 01:20 PM (Tuesday)

Last week, the White House attempted to define its economic vision in a 58-page report titled "The Biden-Harris Economic Blueprint." One first notices the report's sloppiness. Five footnotes supposedly sourcing the White House data include in bold letters: "Error! Bookmark not defined." There is also awkward repetition, such as ...

Brian Riedl: The Case for Humility in Economics
Posted: August 17, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

Hubris, economic forecasting, and the road to ruin. The next time economists declare that they can project the economy's performance far into the future, remember that the Federal Reserve recently failed to project even a current-year inflation rate within three percentage points. Specifically, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) ...

Brian Riedl: Washington Isn’t Ready for Higher Interest Rates
Posted: July 12, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Congress and the White House are not prepared for a world with higher interest rates, and there's no backup plan. Weary families have already seen soaring inflation reduce their real wages by 3 percent over the past year. The Federal Reserve and market forces will likely defeat inflation within a reasonable time frame. But the resulting ...

Brian Riedl: Here's what Biden can do to keep us out of a recession
Posted: July 8, 2022 at 09:26 PM (Friday)

Is America heading into a recession? Rising inflation, stagnant economic growth, and dramatically falling stock values suggest yes. But the continued job gains suggest that the economy is steadfastly holding off a decline. Specifically, the economy added 372,000 jobs in June, holding the unemployment rate at 3.6% – just 0.1% away from tying ...

Brian Riedl: The Era of Free-Lunch Economics Is Over
Posted: June 10, 2022 at 03:30 PM (Friday)

Reality intrudes on the fantasy of cost- and consequence-free deficit spending. In American foreign policy, the period from 1990 through the summer of 2001 has been called the "holiday from history." Between the collapse of the Soviet empire and the 9/11 attacks, the United States drastically reduced defense spending and celebrated what ...

Brian Riedl: The Democrats’ Cynical ‘Greedflation’ Narrative
Posted: May 20, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

Many of the Democrats who are scapegoating greedy businesses for inflation do not actually believe it. But they hope you will. President Biden and congressional Democrats spent a full year downplaying the inflation that buried families and swept across the economy. Now that the president’s approval rating has crashed into the 30s and voters ...

Brian Riedl: What Biden can do to lower inflation but refuses to
Posted: May 11, 2022 at 02:39 PM (Wednesday)

Washington's latest inflation report shows prices rising by 8.3% over the past year and core inflation (which excludes volatile food and energy prices) continuing to accelerate. Real wages have fallen 2.7%. Moody's Analytics and Penn-Wharton estimate that inflation is costing the average household $300 per month. A Harris poll reveals that 84% ...

Brian Riedl: Spin, Misrepresentation, and the President’s Economic Policy
Posted: April 15, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

A recounting of President Biden’s economic falsehoods. The recent White House budget proposal was an exercise in misdirection and spin. The budget document reaffirmed the president’s $2.4 trillion Build Back Better proposal, but simply left its massive cost out of the tax-and-spending tables. To make matters more confusing, the other ...

Brian Riedl: Presidents as Economic Managers
Posted: March 21, 2022 at 01:24 PM (Monday)

It has become a regular theme of op-eds and news analysis: Democratic presidents create economic booms and job gains, while Republican presidents bring recessions and job losses. In 2016, economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson released a study indicating higher average economic-growth rates under Democratic presidents. More recently, ...

Brian Riedl: Why Interest Rates Could Drive a Debt Crisis
Posted: February 4, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

We shouldn't bet the country's future on interest rates remaining low forever. Senator Joe Manchin has (for now) killed the president’s Build Back Better proposal that — once the fake expiration dates are inevitably removed — would have added $3 trillion in new debt over the decade. Yet even without this legislation, Congress and the White ...

Brian Riedl: Mainstream Media Boost Dishonest Anti-billionaire Screed
Posted: January 19, 2022 at 03:04 PM (Wednesday)

Apparently, any amount of intellectual dishonesty can be excused if it serves the progressive agenda. Being a left-wing institution certainly comes with privileges. Because such organizations’ research often serves the mainstream media’s preferred narratives, their new studies and reports can become news events in ways that comparable ...

Brian Riedl: The Worst Spending Bill in Decades?
Posted: December 8, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

The American Rescue Plan continues to drive inflation and economic damage. More than eight months after its enactment, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) continues to reveal itself as the most damaging spending bill enacted in decades. ARP was initially promoted primarily as health-care legislation to finance Covid vaccines ...

Brian Riedl: 8 big problems with Joe Biden's 'Build Back Better' bill
Posted: November 11, 2021 at 02:58 PM (Thursday)

House Democrats continue working to secure the necessary votes to pass "Build Back Better," their massive reconciliation bill. Even if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi twists enough arms for passage, prospects in the Senate remain dim as Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have refused to endorse the legislation. Their hesitancy is justified by ...

Brian Riedl: True cost of Dems’ plans: $7.5 trillion and a lot of gimmicks
Posted: October 27, 2021 at 03:37 PM (Wednesday)

After months of criticizing Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for balking at the original $3.5 trillion price tag, congressional Democrats are finally accepting reality and paring President Biden's social welfare package to between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion over the decade. Does this mean they are responsibly removing the bill's ...

Brian Riedl: Rising Federal Debt Still Matters
Posted: September 30, 2021 at 11:29 AM (Thursday)

Answering the deficit doves. President Biden and congressional Democrats are trying to enact the largest government borrowing binge since World War II. This year’s cascade of new entitlements, social spending, and (loosely defined) infrastructure projects is likely to cost significantly more than last year’s more justified $3 trillion ...

Brian Riedl: Democratic Taxers Will Need Middle-Class Taxes to Fund Their Agenda
Posted: September 17, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

If Biden wants to fund his spending proposals, he can't just tax the rich. The progressive goal of moving toward a European-style social democracy is colliding with America's anti-tax reality. President Biden's American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan proposed a total of $3.3 trillion in new taxes over the next decade to partially ...

Brian Riedl: The Case against the Senate Infrastructure Agreement
Posted: August 7, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Saturday)

The infrastructure proposal would be both wasteful and ineffective. The Senate is poised to pass a $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that would pile on hundreds of billions in new debt without fixing America's broken infrastructure system. There are three main reasons for responsible lawmakers to oppose this bill: The ...

Brian Riedl: Trillions and Trillions
Posted: July 20, 2021 at 10:06 AM (Tuesday)

After spending months trying to cobble together enough votes to pass individual pieces of their expensive agenda, congressional Democrats have decided to throw caution to the wind and buy a ticket for the full jackpot. They have announced an agreement on a budget resolution that includes $3.5 trillion in reconciliation instructions for new tax ...

Brian Riedl: Lower the Federal Gas Tax to Improve Infrastructure
Posted: July 16, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

It is time to empower governors and mayors to creatively make their own local transportation decisions. As lawmakers seek ways to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in new “infrastructure” spending, advocates have seized on the federal gas tax. They remind us that Washington’s gas tax has been frozen since 1993 at 18.4 cents per gallon ...

Brian Riedl: GOP is being fooled by this infrastructure 'deal'
Posted: June 24, 2021 at 04:17 PM (Thursday)

Republicans negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure deal are walking into a trap set by Democrats. President Biden has proposed $4 trillion in (loosely defined) infrastructure spending, and reached out to Senate Republicans to determine what they will accept as part of a bipartisan deal. Senate Republicans have reportedly agreed to $580 ...

Brian Riedl: Sorry Senator Schatz, You Should Pay for Infrastructure
Posted: June 1, 2021 at 01:50 PM (Tuesday)

The Hawaii senator reveals an unfortunate misunderstanding of debt, deficits, and interest rates. For lawmakers, nothing is easier than spending money without paying for it. Deficit spending buys support among its recipients and allows lawmakers to appear compassionate, all while dumping the cost on the unborn or those too young to vote. ...

Brian Riedl: Biden mortgaging our future with more spending, debt and taxes
Posted: May 27, 2021 at 06:20 PM (Thursday)

Two distressing facts to remember about President Biden's new 10-year budget proposal. First, his proposed spending spree would bring the largest federal debt in American history. Second, this budget does not even include additional spending and debt proposals that are coming later. On that first point, President Biden proposes that ...

Brian Riedl: Weak Jobs Report Shows Limits of ‘Stimulus’
Posted: May 7, 2021 at 04:07 PM (Friday)

It is not difficult to see why the economy may not respond strongly to the latest stimulus law. The strong economic recovery came to a surprising halt amid the federal government reporting only 266,000 new net jobs created in April. Axios adds that "forecasters had floated gains close to 1 million, making this the biggest miss, relative ...

Brian Riedl: The Federalism Fix
Posted: May 5, 2021 at 10:01 AM (Wednesday)

How to bring peace to Washington’s partisan wars. Imagine a world in which your favorite policy proposals are no longer blocked by Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Bernie Sanders, or Ted Cruz. In this world, Washington's longstanding partisan warfare no longer paralyzes action on health care, welfare, education, and infrastructure. Impossible? ...

Brian Riedl: Four Principles for a Conservative Infrastructure Alternative
Posted: April 27, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Rather than let the Left set the terms of the debate, conservatives should ask themselves how they would approach infrastructure if they were setting the agenda. President Biden's $2.6 trillion American Jobs Plan has been savaged by conservatives as too expensive, tax heavy, and stuffed with items from the progressive wish list entirely ...

Brian Riedl: Biden's Infrastructure Proposal Is a Giant Boondoggle
Posted: April 5, 2021 at 06:48 AM (Monday)

It sets aside $400 billion for long-term health care for the elderly but only $115 billion for roads, highways, and bridges. President Biden has unveiled a $2.2 trillion grab bag of liberal spending projects creatively branded as an "infrastructure" initiative. The words "invest" and "investment" may appear 160 times in the American Jobs Plan, ...

Brian Riedl: Dear Congress: Bringing Back Pork Would Be a Disaster
Posted: March 2, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

A proposal to bring back pork-barrel earmarks should be sent to the slaughterhouse. Dear Member of Congress: The House is reportedly finalizing a deal to eliminate the 2011 ban on pork-barrel earmarks. This would be a terrible mistake. The idea that voters are clamoring for more pork-barrel spending is so tone-deaf as to represent ...

Brian Riedl: ‘Trillions’ Are the New Billions: How the Federal Budget Grew Detached from Reality
Posted: February 18, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Thursday)

Last year's budget deficits exceed any in modern history. During the Great Recession in 2009, Democratic leaders were forced to prepare their rank-and-file lawmakers for the sticker shock of proposing a $787 billion stimulus bill. During the current recession, Republicans are mocked as cheapskates for supporting a mere $4 trillion in relief. ...

Brian Riedl: The "Facts" We Take on Faith
Posted: January 14, 2021 at 04:41 PM (Thursday)

How do we know our political convictions are based in reality? Earlier this month, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and fought with Capitol Police officers, resulting in one officer's death and numerous injuries, in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying what they were convinced was a "rigged" presidential election. These individuals ...

Brian Riedl: The Case against $2,000 Relief Checks
Posted: December 30, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

Addressing six common arguments and myths in favor of this policy. There is perhaps no easier political position than supporting broad-based government handouts, particularly for the middle class. Everyone loves free money, and even those who vigorously criticize “tax cuts for the rich” or “welfare for those who won’t work” usually ...

Brian Riedl: Liberal economists say debt doesn’t matter. They’re wrong.
Posted: December 8, 2020 at 08:14 AM (Tuesday)

They’re gambling our fiscal solvency on low interest rates. The election of Joe Biden to the presidency has prompted liberal calls to set aside pesky budget deficit concerns and go deeper into debt to finance large new spending initiatives — well beyond short-term stimulus. Influential left-of-center experts such as the Harvard economists ...

Brian Riedl: Behind CBOs $100 Trillion 30 Year US Deficit Projection
Posted: November 19, 2020 at 06:10 AM (Thursday)

The latest long-term budget estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show unsustainable growth of government debt (Chart 1). This debt—which was 40% of the economy before the 2008 recession—will surpass 100% this year, on its way to 195% of the economy in 30 years.1 And this is under the rosy scenario of no new tax cuts, no ...

Brian Riedl: Spending, Tax, and Deficit Myths Exposed
Posted: November 6, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

A quick look at economic data disproves numerous talking points. The public debate on taxes, spending, and deficits consists mostly of lazy conventional wisdom that is largely incorrect. While detailed historical data on spending and taxes can be found at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website, and the 10-year and 30-year ...

Brian Riedl: Examine Spending, Taxes, and Deficits
Posted: October 26, 2020 at 10:05 AM (Monday)

The Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl has released the 2020 edition of his book of charts examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits. The 100-page chart book begins by broadly examining the rising budget deficits and national debt – well beyond the temporary recession deficits – and then gradually dives deeper to show the ...

Brian Riedl: How the Far Left Fails Basic Math
Posted: September 4, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

No, the wealthy cannot finance socialism. The posts are a staple of liberal social media: Attacking the greedy billionaire who could “easily” give everyone $1 million. “Jeff Bezos could give every single American $3 million and he’d still have $188.8 billion.” “Imagine if @JeffBezos decided to give $1,000,000 to each of those 33 million out ...

Brian Riedl: CBO Forecasts Historic Doubling of the National Debt
Posted: September 3, 2020 at 08:25 AM (Thursday)

The Congressional Budget Office today forecast that the 2020 budget deficit will exceed $3 trillion for the first time in American history. At 16 percent of the economy, it is also the largest deficit since World War II. Clearly, Congress must spend what it takes to end the pandemic and keep vulnerable families and businesses afloat. However, ...

Brian Riedl: Who Will Fund $24 Trillion in New Government Debt?
Posted: July 28, 2020 at 06:00 AM (Tuesday)

Federal Coronavirus Relief Spending Worsens National Debt Crisis. The federal government’s expensive response to the coronavirus pandemic makes an already-bleak long-term fiscal outlook even bleaker. After five years in which federal budget deficits gradually climbed toward $1 trillion, the coronavirus pandemic forced Washington to borrow ...

Brian Riedl: No, the Pandemic Has Not Surged Billionaire Wealth
Posted: July 1, 2020 at 04:00 PM (Wednesday)

The claim that billionaire wealth has surged ‘since the beginning of the pandemic’ is flatly untrue. Over the weekend, ABC News claimed that “as 45 million Americans lost their jobs . . . between March 18 and June 17, as the pandemic raged, the combined wealth of the 614 U.S. billionaires increased by $584 billion, according to an ...

Brian Riedl: A Bipartisan Way to Soften Recessions and Address Soaring Debt
Posted: June 19, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

Automatic triggers can kick in when the economy falters — and when it booms. Buried underneath Washington’s stimulus gridlock are the outlines of a bipartisan deal that could both soften recessions and address soaring debt. The creation of new “stimulus triggers” that would automatically kick in whenever the economy falls into recession has ...

Brian Riedl: Pandemic adds $8 trillion to debt avalanche
Posted: June 10, 2020 at 10:36 PM (Wednesday)

The coronavirus has produced three crises: A health crisis, an economic crisis, and — as the price of addressing the first two — a federal debt crisis. The four pandemic response bills enacted thus far will cost $2.4 trillion over the decade. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the deep recession will shave nearly ...

Brian Riedl: No Rush for State Bailouts
Posted: June 1, 2020 at 02:17 PM (Monday)

Washington should buy time with intermediate measures before committing itself to handing over as much as $1 trillion. States Must Assess Need Before Receiving a Federal Bailout. Reeling from the economic effects of the coronavirus lockdown, state and local governments have already laid off 1 million workers, and Washington is debating how ...

Brian Riedl: The US Coronavirus Debt Problem Will Only Get Worse
Posted: May 18, 2020 at 10:06 AM (Monday)

These figures in this series assume that much of the economy reopens by early summer and there's a quick recovery. They do not account for future stimulus that may attempt to jump start the economy, or on-going support for workers and businesses who struggle under slow, uneven re-openings. There also could be aid to state and local governments ...

Brian Riedl: Coronavirus Budget Projections, Escalating Deficits and Debt
Posted: April 29, 2020 at 06:23 AM (Wednesday)

Added costs and declining revenues stemming from Covid-19 will produce a 2020 budget deficit in excess of $4.2 trillion. This is slightly above the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) April 24 estimate of $3.7 trillion for the year. The baseline deficit entering 2020 was $1.0 trillion. CBO projects that the first four coronavirus response ...

Brian Riedl: The Case against an Infrastructure ‘Stimulus’
Posted: April 15, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

This 'stimulus' bill will bury America more deeply in debt, fail to stimulate economic growth, and likely be squandered by politicians. The free-falling economy is bringing Washington, D.C., together in bipartisan calls for a massive infrastructure stimulus bill. President Trump tweeted that “With interest rates for the United States being ...

Brian Riedl: How to save the economy
Posted: April 2, 2020 at 11:00 PM (Thursday)

The federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been historic in its magnitude, speed, and nearly unanimous congressional support. But it has also been misunderstood, and the differences between it and past federal crises, in terms of federal economic intervention, are instructive. In just two weeks, Congress drafted and enacted one of the ...

Brian Riedl: How Effective Would a New Fiscal Stimulus Be?
Posted: March 11, 2020 at 12:53 PM (Wednesday)

Not very. The arrival of the coronavirus has plunged the stock market and led to calls for a massive government economic-stimulus package to remedy a possible recession. Reflexive calls for fiscal stimulus are often popular during recessions, for obvious reasons: Voters love tax cuts and spending benefits. Celebrity economists get to show ...

Brian Riedl: Medicare For All? Try Paying for Current Medicare Obligations
Posted: March 4, 2020 at 08:58 AM (Wednesday)

Medicare For All proponents have thus far failed to come up with a plan to fund the $30 trillion (over ten years) in taxes their proposal requires. Before expanding Medicare, they should note that the current Medicare system already faces a $44 trillion shortfall over 30 years. Specifically, Medicare is projected by CBO to collect $17 trillion ...

Brian Riedl: $2 Trillion Budget Deficits—With No End in Sight
Posted: February 7, 2020 at 01:51 PM (Friday)

The latest projections from the CBO predict the budget deficit will surge toward $2 trillion by the end of the decade if current policies continue. And it is not a matter of cutting discretionary spending; these rising deficits are occurring in a full-employment economy, and their future growth is driven by Social Security and Medicare ...

Brian Riedl: Why $1 Trillion Deficits Are Here to Stay
Posted: February 3, 2020 at 10:00 AM (Monday)

We shouldn’t tune out the warnings about Social Security and Medicare. Welcome to the world of permanent $1 trillion (or more) budget deficits. The Congressional Budget Office released new budget projections last week, and as troubling as they sound, that’s a rosy scenario that assumes peace, prosperity, and low interest rates. CBO projects ...

Brian Riedl: Missteps Undermine the Legacy of the 2017 Tax Cuts
Posted: November 18, 2019 at 02:55 PM (Monday)

The disappointing third-quarter economic data—showing a 1.9% economic growth rate and declining business investment—has brought another round of commentary that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has failed to deliver on its promise. Opinion articles such as “The GOP Tax Cuts Didn’t Work,” and “The Republican Tax Cut Is a Big, Fat ...

Brian Riedl: The Unaffordable Candidate
Posted: October 15, 2019 at 09:47 AM (Tuesday)

Bernie Sanders’s $97 Trillion Agenda Would Impose Incomprehensible Costs. It’s been a difficult time for Senator Bernie Sanders, who was hospitalized two weeks ago after suffering a heart attack and whose 46-year-old daughter-in-law has recently died of cancer. Given Sanders’s age (78) and health and familial challenges, his quest for ...

Brian Riedl: 2019 Chart Book Examines Spending, Taxes, and Deficits
Posted: September 24, 2019 at 02:04 PM (Tuesday)

The 2019 edition of my chart book examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits is now available. The 96-page book begins by broadly looking at the rising budget deficits and national debt, and then gradually dives deeper to show the policies driving the red ink. Next, it tallies the cost of candidate proposals to add more debt, ...

Brian Riedl: Money to burn
Posted: September 19, 2019 at 11:00 PM (Thursday)

Free lunch politics are as old as government. Yet the 2020 presidential campaign trail is proving to be unique for the unprecedented scale of the unfunded promises, the failure to acknowledge basic arithmetic, and the relentless criticism of the richest 1% of taxpayers who earn 19% of the income while paying 30% of the federal taxes. And ...

Brian Riedl: President Trump's Budget Deal Spells the End of the Tea Party
Posted: July 22, 2019 at 04:16 PM (Monday)

The conventional wisdom among Washington Republicans is that populist conservative voters no longer care about spending or deficits. President Trump and congressional leaders are nearing a deal that would raise the discretionary-spending caps by $320 billion over two years and offset less than one-quarter of those costs (and even those ...

Brian Riedl: The Case for Ending Income Tax Itemization of Deductions
Posted: July 15, 2019 at 08:02 AM (Monday)

While liberals and conservatives battle over the wisdom of the 2017 tax cuts, that law has quietly created an opportunity for a new reform that could please both flat-tax conservatives and tax-the-rich liberals. For decades, many economists have argued that itemized tax deductions complicate the individual income tax code, overly benefit the ...

Brian Riedl: Why Washington won't address soaring deficits
Posted: June 18, 2019 at 12:00 PM (Tuesday)

Seemingly no one cares about the budget deficit anymore. Republicans recently cut taxes by $2 trillion, while Democrats are promising a spending spree that could top $40 trillion over the decade. And this is on top of the current budget trajectory that shows annual deficits exceeding $2 trillion within a decade, and totaling a staggering ...

Brian Riedl: A $2 trillion mistake? Here’s what Washington must do to get infrastructure right
Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:41 PM (Wednesday)

President Trump and Democratic leaders have discovered the one policy that unites Washington: spending money we don’t have. Yet their bipartisan pledge to spend an added $2 trillion on infrastructure over the next decade faces serious obstacles if these leaders are to responsibly improve our infrastructure. First, Washington should spend only ...

Brian Riedl: How Your 2019 Taxes Will Be Spent
Posted: April 15, 2019 at 07:45 AM (Monday)

As another tax day arrives, Americans are surely wondering where their hard-earned federal taxes go. This year, Washington will spend a staggering $35,148 per household and collect $26,677 per household in taxes. The resulting budget deficit of $8,471 per household will bring the total national debt to $177,000 per household. Federal spending ...

Brian Riedl: Should We Fear Budget Deficits? Absolutely
Posted: February 25, 2019 at 01:10 PM (Monday)

In Foreign Affairs, economists Jason Furman and Lawrence Summers take on "deficit fundamentalists" and assert that "it's time for Washington to put away its debt obsession." To which even casual observers may respond, "what debt obsession?" In the past two years, the President and Congress have enacted $2.5 trillion in tax cuts and another ...

Brian Riedl: Yes, We Should Fear Budget Deficits
Posted: February 8, 2019 at 02:48 PM (Friday)

In Foreign Affairs, economists Jason Furman and Lawrence Summers take on “deficit fundamentalists” and assert that “it’s time for Washington to put away its debt obsession.” To which even casual observers may respond, “what debt obsession?” In the past two years, the President and Congress have enacted $2.5 trillion in tax cuts and another ...

Brian Riedl: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70 Percent Tax Cannot Finance Socialism
Posted: January 8, 2019 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

There’s no way to raise the money without hammering the middle class. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a 70 percent income-tax rate to finance green-energy initiatives has energized the Left. Yet this is completely destructive proposal. A 70 percent tax bracket would raise very little (if any) revenue, while damaging the ...

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