Facing the Future

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Building Back Better Bang for the Buck

November 10th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future, we explore the potential economic effects of the Build Back Better Act and the cost of making its temporary provisions permanent. A vote on the House version of the bill is expected next week. Then we’ll consider the economic feedback of federal spending on infrastructure, a subject that is front and center with final passage last week of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.   Helping us sort through these issues is Kent Smetters, Faculty Director of The Penn Wharton Budget Model.

Democratic Supply-side Economics

November 3rd, 2021

Democrats in Congress are pushing to finalize a broad social spending and climate change plan that would cost about $1.8 trillion over 10 years and be paid for with a number of new tax provisions targeted at large corporations and households earning more than $400,000 a years. This week on Facing the Future, we discuss the economic strengths and weaknesses of this plan (i.e., the Build Back Better Act). Our guest is Bill Gale a senior fellow in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution. Concord Coalition Policy Director Tori Gorman joins the conversation.

A Wealth of Tax Problems

October 27th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future, we look at various proposals on paying for the roughly $2 trillion social spending bill that Democrats hope to pass soon. These include familiar ideas like raising rates on corporations and upper-income households, to new ideas like implementing some form of a "wealth tax."  We'll also look at the potential for raising revenue through better enforcement of existing laws and the amount we lose through ill-targeted "tax expenditures." Tax policy expert, and former top congressional staffer,  Pete Davis is our guest.

A Reality Check on Reconciliation

October 20th, 2021

This week on Facing the Future our guest is Ben Ritz, of the Progressive Policy Center. He is the author of a new paper titled, “Reconciling with Reality: The Top Priorities for Building Back Better.” Concord Coalition Policy Director Tori Gorman and I ask Ritz about those priorities and the chances of getting a deal between progressive and moderate factions of the Democratic Party anytime soon. Later, Concord's chief economist, Steve Robinson, will discuss this year's Social Security cost-of-living adjustment -- the largest since 1982.

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.

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