Facing the Future

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Don‘t Forget the Budget‘s Pre-Existing Condition

October 12th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future we took a step back from the day-to-day budget battles in Washington to consider the overall fiscal outlook. Our guest was Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who recently published a comprehensive chart book on federal spending, taxes and deficits. Among the questions we discussed were: What is driving CBO’s projected $112 trillion deficit over 30 years, and why the deficit could top $3 trillion yet again within a decade? Later, Concord Coalition Chief Economist Steve Robinson joined me and Gorman for an update on developments in Washington, including the short-term ($480 billion) bipartisan compromise to lift the debt limit.

Can Democrats Reconcile on Reconciliation?

October 6th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future we’ll sort through the various internal divisions among congressional Democrats as they try to pass both a bipartisan physical infrastructure bill and a much larger human infrastructure bill with no Republican backing. We'll also look at the ongoing standoff over the debt limit, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says could be breached as soon as October 18th. Our guest is Tom Kahn, former Democratic staff director of the House Budget Committee.

Cutting it Close on Shutdown and Default

September 29th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future, we’ get a bipartisan view of a big week in Washington from two veteran Capitol Hill staffers, Bill Hoagland Senior Vice President of the Bipartisan Policy Center and Joe Minarik Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Committee for Economic Development. Concord Coalition Policy Director Tori Gorman, herself a veteran of many legislative battles, joins the conversation. We' discuss a potential government shutdown, a debt limit stand-off, and a Democratic "reconciliation" bill that would greatly expand social spending and raise taxes to pay for it. This isn’t quite the budgetary Super Bowl, but we’re certainly in the playoffs.

The Arrhythmia of Federal Finances

September 21st, 2021

This week on Facing the Future we’ll get a status report on the economy, the long-term fiscal outlook, the debt limit, and the challenges of monetary policy in the post-pandemic environment. Our guest is Peter Fisher, Senior Fellow at the Center for Business, Government & Society at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where he also serves as a Clinical Professor. With Congress facing deadlines crucial deadlines and the Federal Reserve pondering policy changes in the face of rising inflation, there is a lot to discuss. 

Don‘t Forget Social Security and Medicare Challenges

September 15th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future we got a thorough briefing on the latest Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ Report from Dr. Charles Blahous, a former Public Trustee of the two programs and now Senior Research Strategist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Concord Coalition Chief Economist Steve Robinson joined the conversation.With Congress considering major new spending plans, and trying to figure out how to pay for it all, the annual report of Social Security and Medicare trustees was released on August 31. It was a timely reminder that Congress still hasn't figured out how to pay for some of the big programs we already have.

Negotiating Infrastructure as Concord Hits the Road

September 8th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future, we discuss a number of important topics. First, we’ll talk with Representative Carolyn Bordeaux (GA 7th) who helped negotiate an agreement with Speaker Nancy Pelsoi for a firm date (September 27) to vote on the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. Then we’ll hear from Concord Coalition National Field Director Phil Smith and Colorado Fiscal Lookout Brian Carter about a series of events they conducted in Colorado last week. Finally, we’ll turn back to Washington where the Social Security and Medicare Trustees issued their 2021 report last week. Concord Coalition Policy Director Tori Gorman and Chief Economist Steve Robinson join me to assess the report.

Big Budget Choices Loom in September

September 1st, 2021

This week on Facing the Future we talk with Austin Smythe, a former top congressional staffer and executive branch official, about the potential costs and legislative prospects for a major spending and tax bill this fall implementing President Bidne's agenda. We also consider the process and politics of raising the nation's debt limit. Concord Coalition policy director Tori Gorman joins the conversation.

States Have Budgets Too

August 26th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future we compare the problems of the federal budget with the problems of a state budget, specifically New Hampshire’s budget. Points of comparison include, how the budget is put together, what the money is spent on, how the money is raised and whether there are structural issues that affect future policy options? Our guest is Phil Sletten, Senior Policy Analyst at the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, an independent, non-profit policy research organization in Concord NH, where Phil has worked since 2016. 

Alzheimer’s Drug Has BIg Costs and Many Questions

August 17th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future, we turn to health care and the brewing controversy over Aduhelm, a new drug for treating Alzheimer's Disease that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Is it effective, will it be covered by Medicare and how much will it cost? We’ll ask Josh Gordon, Director of Health Policy at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Then we'll look at where things stand in Washington as the two parties move from a bipartisan infrastructure bill to a one-party budget resolution. Concord Coalition Policy Director Tori Gorman and Steve Robinson join the conversation.

Bipartisan Race to the Bottom

August 11th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future we talked with Tom Kahn, a veteran Democrat congressional staffer who is concerned that both parties have abandoned fiscal responsibility. Tom gave us his take on the latest budget battles in Washington. Concord’s National Field Director Phil Smith joined the conversation.

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