Manual Major Fiscal Issues Before Congress in FY2013

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Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved February Congressional Budget Office. Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, February 28, Retrieved March 1, Retrieved 5 January September 14, November 21, Retrieved January 30, RealClear Media Group.

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Retrieved 25 February The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 25, The White House. February 14, Retrieved March 7, Huffington Post. Retrieved March 10, Legislative Digest. House Republicans. December 20, House Democrats.

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March 5, Retrieved March 8, Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 8 February Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Retrieved 15 October News Communications, Inc. Retrieved 24 October Retrieved 7 November Retrieved 8 April Retrieved 11 December The Hill. March 8, Hiring Gains Steam". New York Times. Federal Reserve. February 26, Retrieved March 2, Financial Times. Retrieved March 3, USA Today. Retrieved Sep 29, Comey stunned by impact of sequestration on agents in the field". Despite sustained growth since mid, economic output remains depressed as well. And this measure of the output gap might actually be too cautious, as improvement in recent years has mostly reflected the CBO marking down its estimate of potential output, rather than reflecting an acceleration of actual growth Bivens Depressed levels of output and employment are a direct consequence of the bursting of the housing bubble, which erased trillions of dollars of wealth from household balance sheets.

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The effects rippled through the economy as consumers pulled back their spending, construction spending cratered, businesses stopped investing and expanding, financial intermediation broke down, and state and local governments cut spending as tax receipts fell. In short, households, businesses, and governments stopped spending enough to keep their workers and resources employed. The pace of economic growth since the economy emerged from recession in July has been too sluggish to restore the economy to full health, and fiscal policy has slowed growth rates below what is needed to close this demand shortfall.

Annualized real GDP growth decelerated from 2. While the national unemployment rate fell from 10 percent in October to 6. If these workers were still in the labor force and unemployed, the unemployment rate would be a full 10 percent Economic Policy Institute a.

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Additionally, if the average monthly job gains seen in persisted, it would take five years to close the jobs gap Shierholz b. While policymakers should be pursuing renewed fiscal expansion to accelerate the inadequate pace of economic and employment growth, Congress has instead enacted austerity measures—largely ignoring the economic and budgetary damage wrought by austerity budgets in the United Kingdom and other developed countries. The contraction of government spending in the wake of the Great Recession is unprecedented.

When multiplier effects are taken into account, this level of spending would already have induced a full recovery Bivens By prematurely pulling away from fiscal support, policymakers are condemning the economy of the future to depressed output, anemic growth, high unemployment rates, and large cyclical budget deficits Bivens, Fieldhouse, and Shierholz Instead of prioritizing recovery, the Washington budget debate remains entirely focused on the one policy intrinsically at odds with spurring near-term economic growth—reducing budget deficits—and deficits will remain high as long as the economy is depressed.

Using fiscal policy to boost aggregate demand remains the key to restoring full employment, and will actually prove largely self-financing in dollar terms and improve key metrics of fiscal health notably the public debt-to-GDP ratio in the near term, as long as interest rates remain historically low.

Conversely, budget austerity—particularly cutting spending—is so economically damaging that it actually becomes fiscally counterproductive in current conditions, with the sequestration spending cuts actually projected to increase the debt-to-GDP ratio Fieldhouse b. The risks of austerity were also highlighted by concerns over the fiscal cliff in late ; if no congressional action were taken, budget deficits would have closed too quickly meaning debt would not be allowed to rise fast enough and the economy would have been pushed into an austerity-induced recession CBO a.

Having avoided the crippling austerity that has driven much of Europe back into recession, the United States is now embarking on the austerity path despite a wide consensus among economic experts that austerity wreaks havoc on depressed economies Blanchard and Leigh Instead of austerity, what is truly necessary to ensure a rapid return to full employment is larger near-term budget deficits, which are a natural byproduct of government correctly acting to close the shortfall in aggregate demand through public investment, safety net spending, and federal support to state and local governments.

The Better Off Budget takes a strong stand for such policies by unequivocally affirming the goal of closing the output gap and returning the economy to full employment, all while ensuring sustainable projected deficit and debt levels. The following sections describe first the spending proposals and then the revenue policies in the Better Off Budget see Table 1. Tables and figures can be found at the end of this report.

The Better Off Budget makes targeted investments in job creation and infrastructure spending aimed at rapidly restoring full employment and supporting sustained recovery, while also making targeted cuts to reflect national priorities and improve efficiency in the budget.

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Although outlays would rise to The Better Off Budget ramps up spending in the near term in order to support economic recovery and pursue full employment. Investments over the year window are thus front-loaded to address current economic needs; 63 percent of total job creation measures within the year FY— window are allocated over FY—, corresponding with the calendar years —, when the Better Off Budget most heavily invests in stimulus measures and when economic support is most needed see Table 2. Sixty-three percent of these investments are made between now and the end of calendar year in order to target full employment; the remainder of the spending consists of sustained investments in infrastructure, green manufacturing, and research and development.

The package of public works jobs programs fully finances initiatives proposed by Rep. To provide both an economic boost as well as individual assistance to the near-record numbers of long-term unemployed workers, the Better Off Budget restores the emergency unemployment compensation EUC program to support up to 99 weeks of benefits in calendar years — Subsequently, despite an acute long-term unemployment crisis—federal extended unemployment benefits have never been cut with a long-term unemployment rate as elevated as it is now Shierholz a —Congress allowed the EUC program to lapse completely in December As shown in Table 2, the Better Off Budget also funds a number of job creation tax measures.

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It introduces the Hard Work Tax Credit, an expanded version of the now-expired Making Work Pay tax credit, for calendar years — In its first two years, the Hard Work Tax Credit will be percent of the old Making Work Pay credit, before phasing out in the third calendar year. In addition to these targeted job creation measures, infrastructure investments, and tax credits, the Better Off Budget invests heavily in the nondefense discretionary NDD budget, which houses a range of critical public investments in areas such as education, energy, basic scientific research, workforce training, and health.

This increase in NDD spending also covers a 4 percent raise in for federal civilian employees. This classification of federal spending is especially vital because much of it is needed public investment—purchases the government can make now that will boost employment in the short run but provide lasting benefits, such as infrastructure and education. Under current law, such investment will soon reach its historical low as a share of GDP and continue to decline thereafter Smith The Better Off Budget also proposes realigning defense priorities and finding other targeted and efficient savings in the budget. The Better Off Budget repeals these cuts and replaces them with similarly sized cuts. The Better Off Budget achieves savings outside of the Defense Department as well, many of which would build on the efficiency reforms already enacted in the Affordable Care Act. The budget implements the following policies: the addition of a public insurance option to Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges, negotiation of Medicare Part D pharmaceutical drug prices with pharmaceutical companies similar to current negotiation of drug prices through Medicaid , reform of pharmaceutical drug development and patent rules, payment and administrative cost reforms, and efforts to reduce fraud and abuse in Medicaid.

The U. The Better Off Budget would reform the tax code by enacting policies that would restore lost progressivity so that effective tax rates rise with income , push back against rising income inequality, raise sufficient revenue, and close inefficient or economically harmful loopholes. Although tax increases are contractionary in current conditions, the economic impact of a dollar of government spending as shown by the fiscal multiplier is about four to seven times higher than the economic impact of a dollar of revenue Bivens and Fieldhouse Since much of the revenue would be raised from upper-income households and businesses which have relatively low marginal propensities to consume and thus particularly low fiscal multipliers even among tax changes and used to finance high bang-per-buck job creation measures, the relatively small fiscal drag from raising revenue would be more than mitigated by the other budget policies.

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Though higher relative to GDP than the previous postwar high point of The Better Off Budget would increase progressivity of the individual income tax code by adding the five higher marginal tax rates at higher income thresholds from Rep. As Table 1 shows, the Better Off Budget makes a number of additional policy changes to the individual income tax code. On the corporate side, the Better Off Budget eliminates some of the most egregious loopholes and enacts other progressive reforms. The budget repeals voluntary deferral of taxes owed on U.

Bernard Sanders I-Vt. Keith Ellison D-Minn. Besides increasing progressivity in the individual and corporate income tax codes, the Better Off Budget reflects the belief that government should levy Pigovian taxes so that the consumption of certain goods reflects their true societal costs. The Better Off Budget imposes a financial transactions tax FTT in order to raise significant revenue while dampening speculative trading and encouraging more productive investment.

The debt ceiling controls the amount of debt the U. Treasury can issue to finance government operations. It does not determine the level of spending for those operations.

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An agreement by the conferees to establish overall spending and revenue levels, together with the subsequent legislation to meet those targets, would determine how much the government would need to borrow. Presumably, a successful agreement and legislation on the budget would also include a commensurate increase in the debt ceiling.