Author Archive

FAQ: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013

Posted December 12th, 2013 by

Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray and her House counterpart Rep. Paul Ryan yesterday reached a deal determining the level of federal discretionary spending for the next two years. In particular, the deal reduces the impact of sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect in 2013. Q: Why is this the “$85 billion [...]

Posted Under: Federal Budget

Give Americans a reason to be thankful: A Congress that listens

Posted November 28th, 2013 by

This Thanksgiving, Congress should set aside dysfunction and the austerity mindset and give the American people a reason to be thankful: a federal spending and revenue plan that takes our best interests to heart. In calling for the release of top-line budget numbers prior to Thanksgiving recess, members of the House Appropriations Committee noted that [...]

When Government Is Too Small

Posted October 23rd, 2013 by

Every American should have been in the streets when our elected officials labeled cancer care for children as “nonessential.” On a damp Friday morning, 11 days into the government shutdown, a few dozen truckers took to the Capital Beltway to tell lawmakers they were angry. They were protesting big government. Yet opinion polls showed that [...]

Operation Secret Loopholes

Posted September 19th, 2013 by

The federal budget expresses our nation’s values and priorities in numbers. It’s a blueprint for how our elected officials plan to make money and how they plan to spend it. What happens in Washington, D.C. has a profound local impact. About 80 percent of all federal tax revenue comes from the paychecks of regular Americans, [...]

Useless Baggage

Posted April 27th, 2013 by

They’ve hit a new low. Citing significant concerns about long lines at airports and flight delays caused by the furlough of air-traffic controllers, Congress is allowing the Federal Aviation Administration to override strict sequestration rules and re-direct funds within its budget. And they did so with lightning speed. With their big fuss over aviation punctuality, [...]

Federal income taxes: “They don’t take them to be mean.”

Posted April 2nd, 2013 by

A few weeks ago I spent the morning at Jackson Street Elementary School in Northampton, Massachusetts. My daughter is enrolled at Jackson Street in Jen Reed’s Kindergarten class, where I’ve – happily – volunteered in the past. But during this last visit I was with the “big kids” – the fifth graders. My host was [...]

Posted Under: Elections, Voting

Why Use a Bludgeon When a Calculator Will Do?

Posted February 26th, 2013 by

Sequestration is both an ugly word and hard to explain. As a budget wonk, I like to use this metaphor: It’s as if the American people are being squeezed into the back of a dilapidated Chevy pick-up. Careening down a dirt road, we’re headed for a brick wall. Try as we might to wake up [...]

The federal budget: A high-stakes love story

Posted October 23rd, 2012 by

In 2011, I taught two summer courses, directed a federal budget research organization and paid taxes. Taxes are the dues I pay for living in a democracy. Like you, I contribute at the local, state, and federal levels. I want us to fall a little bit in love with the federal budget and there’s no [...]

Election 2012: What’s the budget impact on moms and families?

Posted August 14th, 2012 by

If there was ever any doubt that the U.S. federal budget would claim center-stage in the 2012 presidential race, it vanished with Mitt Romney’s selection of House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee. Although Mitt Romney has emphasized he will run on a Romney budget, not a Ryan budget, he [...]

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