Budget Matters Blog

Entries By Mattea Kramer

The State of the Union is Government by Crisis

The State of the Union is usually a speech about a vision – not only for the twelve months ahead, but for years to come. This year is different.

Avoiding the Next Fiscal Cliff: The Debt Ceiling

Good news came at the end of last week, and it's something that will affect you and your neighborhood. Speaker of the House John Boehner said the House would vote on a three-month increase to the debt ceiling in order to give lawmakers time to pass a more comprehensive budget deal.

Why Is Congress So Dysfunctional? (Answer: It's a "Fact-Free Zone")

This country is desperately in need of facts. That was the overwhelming message I took away from two exciting things that happened last week. First, there was a national conference for No Labels. The second event was at the New York Public Library, where I spoke about A People's Guide to the Federal Budget.

What Is Entitlement Reform?

When lawmakers struck a fiscal-cliff deal on New Year's Day, they did not make any changes to Medicare or Social Security. But the debate over if and how to reform entitlement programs has only just begun.

You Ask, We Answer: Why Are Payroll Taxes Going Up?

A number of our Facebook fans expressed concern last week when they discovered that payroll taxes would be increasing in the wake of fiscal cliff negotiations. One person wrote in dismay, "What about all the months of discussion that increasing taxes on the middle class would hurt the economy?"

The Fiscal Cliff Deal

At the last possible moment, Congress came to an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. The deal affects tax rates, unemployment benefits, and even the price of milk. Read the details.

2013 and the Fiscal Cliff

2013 and the fiscal cliff will arrive in a few hours, though today's most popular Google search is about Kim Kardashian's pregnancy. After all, we can only take so much news about something called the "fiscal cliff." But it actually makes a difference whether we're paying attention to Kim Kardashian or to what's happening in Washington.

Will There Be a Fiscal Cliff Deal?

There have been few outward signs of progress in recent days as Congress and the White House negotiate over the so-called fiscal cliff. (We prefer to call it a fiscal obstacle course.) Naturally that's led to speculation that lawmakers won't be able to strike a deal to avoid the looming spending cuts and tax increases.

You Ask, We Answer: How Big Are the Bush Tax Cuts?

A reader from Shelby Township, Michigan, wrote to us to ask about the Bush-era tax cuts. "How much revenue would the federal government get," he wrote, "if taxes were raised on the people making more than $200,000 per year?" It's a very timely question. Bush-era tax cuts for high earners are the most contentious part of negotiations raging over the so-called fiscal cliff.

What Will Happen with the Fiscal Cliff?

Last week I wrote a post called Fiscal Cliff Definition, with a simple explanation of the much-hyped, so-called fiscal cliff. (I also suggested that we call it a "fiscal obstacle course" instead of a cliff, because that's a more appropriate metaphor.) The next important question is: What's going to happen?