Paying lip service to the deficit

Nov 8, 2018
Politicians have been pretty quiet lately about the $800 billion budget deficit. That's about to change.
“Washington needs to find a way to spend less,” Mitch McConnell said in 2011, back when the Kentucky Republican was Senate minority leader. Above, he addresses the Value Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., in September. 
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

How much U.S. debt is too much?

Oct 16, 2018
Balancing the federal budget is a bigger deal for politicians than economists.
The United States could simply make more money to pay its bills, said Stephanie Kelton, an economics professor at Stony Brook University. But taken to an extreme, that could lead to higher inflation.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

How much U.S. debt is too much?

Oct 16, 2018
Balancing the federal budget is a bigger deal for politicians than economists.
The United States could simply make more money to pay its bills, said Stephanie Kelton, an economics professor at Stony Brook University. But taken to an extreme, that could lead to higher inflation.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Here’s how deficit-inducing tax cuts lead to trade deficits

by
Sep 5, 2018
The U.S. trade deficit in July surged to a five-month high, $50.1 billion, as exports of products like soybeans and civilian aircraft fell, while imports reached record levels. President Donald Trump regularly complains about trade deficits, but his own spending policies tend to undermine the goal of lowering the trade gap. One part of the […]

Why budgets of federal agencies are “use-it-or-lose-it”

Mar 27, 2018
Federal agencies are now trying to figure out how to spend billions of dollars in the next six months. President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill Congress sent him last week, unleashing funding for fiscal year 2018, which is already half over. It’s a use-it-or-lose it situation for federal agencies. Click the audio player […]

On infrastructure, Donald Trump has a math problem

by
Feb 12, 2018
Today, the White House outlined a $1.5 trillion plan to deal with our nation’s infrastructure problems — everything from waterways to highways to commercial space infrastructure. But the federal government plans to provide just $200 billion of that $1.5 trillion. Where would the rest come from? Mostly from state and local governments, who already feel burdened […]

Hey, what’s going on in the economy?

Feb 9, 2018
Five days of volatile markets, a five-hour government shutdown and one budget bill later ...
Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell on Feb. 2.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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U.S. government shuts down for the second time in 2018

Feb 8, 2018
The shutdown came after Kentucky Senator Rand Paul blocked a vote on the budget plan.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans want $700 billion in defense spending next year. Can they get the Democrats on board?

Dec 12, 2017
President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act today. It calls for around $700 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2018. That would blow right through the spending caps Congress agreed to back in 2011. Congress has to vote to modify those caps, if it wants to spend this much money on defense. […]

Study finds that for many states, public education funding still hasn’t come back to pre-Recession levels

Nov 29, 2017
It’s been a decade since the Great Recession, and while a lot of things in the economy have recovered, state funding for public schools is still lagging behind pre-Recession levels, after accounting for inflation. That’s according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank that focuses on ways that federal and state […]