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Two underreported facts about federal deficit reduction

Deficit reduction graphIn the incessant yammering that continues about the federal budget deficit, one of the great underreported facts in recent months is that President Obama and Congress have actually already made enormous progress.

As Richard Kogan of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Allan Freyer of the Budget and Tax Center have reported here and here, the fiscal cliff deal combined with other decisions have combined to slash the projected deficit over the next decade by $2.7 trillion. Indeed, with another $1.5 trillion in savings/tax increases, the country will be in a good place on this issue.

Today, Kogan highlights (see the graph at left) another related and underreported fact about the deficit reduction already enacted: the vast majority of it (70%) comes from program cuts.  Kogan’s data provides more compelling evidence that tax increases simply have to be a part of any new federal budget deal if the’re going to be a truly balanced approach to deficit reduction that doesn’t throw the country back into recession with Europe-like austerity.

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Report: Ryan budget would harm NC’s schools, public health and safety

Just in from the Budget and Tax Center Center

RALEIGH (March 27, 2013) — Critical federal funding for North Carolina’s schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services would be slashed under the federal budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, according to a new report released today by the non-partisan organization Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Chairman Ryan’s budget would place the burden of deficit reduction squarely on the backs of North Carolina’s low-income and middle class families while providing a windfall in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals,” said Allan Freyer of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “Another round of deep funding cuts to our schools, public safety, and health would harm our families, communities and economy.”

Congressman Ryan’s budget would cut the part of the federal budget that supports Read more

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Still think it’s all a “publicity stunt,” Senator?

Phil BergerAs you may recall, a spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger had the following to say about a recent effort by folks at the North Carolina Justice Center (NC Policy Watch’s parent organization) to call attention to the impacts of the federal budget sequester here in North Carolina:

“We are not engaging in the left-wing N.C. Justice Center’s daily publicity stunts,” said Amy Auth, spokeswoman for state Senate leader Phil Berger, in an email. “They should voice their concerns with federal legislation to our federal legislators.”

Today, comes news from the Department of Public Instruction that North Carolina schools will suffer a $63 million cuts as the result of the sequester — most of it in programs that serve vulnerable children.

Still think all this sequester business is a publicity stunt that doesn’t involve you Senator?

 

NC Budget and Tax Center

Competing federal budgets move through Congress

In the latest development in our nation’s interminable federal budget wars, both the House and Senate passed very different plans for the 2014 budget out of committee this week, and both plans now await floor action next Wednesday. The first plan, proposed by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, represents a balanced approach that includes new revenues, while the second plan—proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan—represents an irresponsible approach that gives tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while enacting deep cuts to those public investments that help children, seniors, and the most vulnerable.

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NC Budget and Tax Center

Shooting at the wrong target: sequestration cuts part of budget least responsible for deficits

Last week, Congress failed to repeal the $85.3 billion in automatic, across the board spending cuts known as “sequestration,” and as a result, these spending cuts have begun to take effect.   Sequestration is the wrong way to go about reducing our nation’s budget deficit—it will hurt North Carolina’s economy, weaken the fiscal position of the state budget, and damage key public investments like K-12 education, job training, and food safety. 

And despite inflicting all this damage, sequestration targets the portion of the federal budget that contributes the least to national deficits, making it the wrong tool for achieving meaningful deficit reduction. Instead, Congress should take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that replaces the sequestration cuts for 2013 with equal amounts of new revenue and smart spending cuts.

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