The Concord Coalition
With the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, a slow-growing population and an agriculture sector in need of workers, Iowa is a good place to begin a national dialogue on a new legal immigration policy. That was our aim when we recently presented an American Action Forum proposal called Building a Pro-Growth Legal Immigration System at Drake University. The proposal was part of a Concord Coalition project on fiscal responsibility and economic growth.
As if filing federal tax returns weren't already confusing enough, some lawmakers are considering retroactive changes in the tax code that would apply to 2018. This means some taxpayers may need to delay preparing and submitting their returns — and perhaps will even be forced to file revised tax returns later. A little common sense, please. Responsible elected officials should recognize the importance of having all of the tax laws in place for a given year before the start of the tax-filing period.
The slowing growth of the U.S. population, detailed in a recent report by the Census Bureau and an analysis from the Brookings Institution, presents the country with some difficult fiscal and economic challenges. The Census Bureau estimates that the country's population grew by only 0.62 percent between July 2017 and July 2018. Census data show that this is the slowest rate of growth since 1937, according to William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings.
Don't look now, but budgetary gridlock on Capitol Hill is about to get worse. So is the deficit. With all the attention being paid to the partial government shutdown over funding for a wall on the Mexican border, it is easy to forget that, up until the end of the fiscal year in September, the appropriations process was going fairly well. Five of the 12 annual appropriation bills passed on time, funding about 75 percent of agency budgets.
The Concord Coalition is warning that the rapidly rising federal budget deficit — totaling nearly $779 billion in Fiscal Year 2018 — reflects a structural gap between spending and revenues that is largely ignored in Washington even as it grows worse. The Treasury Department recently released the figure, which is $113 billion higher than 2017 deficit, along with other data for Fiscal 2018, which ended Sept. 30.
In an update to its 10-year economic outlook, The Congressional Budget Office projects that real Gross Domestic Product will grow by 3.1 percent this year, 2.4 percent next year and considerably less in subsequent years. Although CBO says this update does not differ significantly from its economic forecast last spring, the latest report provides a useful reminder that the growth spurt in the second quarter of this year should not be considered a harbinger of much higher economic growth than the country has experienced in the recent past.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its analysis of President Trump's proposed budget for Fiscal 2019. Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, issued the following statement: CBO's analysis today of the president's budget is another grim reminder of nation's increasingly dire fiscal outlook.
With some fanfare, the Trump administration has sent Congress a rescission request that would cancel $15.3 billion of "budget authority" that was granted to executive branch agencies in past legislation. The administration and some in Congress have touted this proposal as a needed step towards fiscal responsibility. In reality, however, it is a smokescreen to hide the fact that there are no plans to take substantive legislative action to address the nation's large fiscal imbalances.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released projections that show sharp increases in the federal deficits and debt over the next decade and beyond. Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, issued the following statement:
With the House and Senate now considering separate plans to overhaul the tax code, The Concord Coalition urges lawmakers to reconsider their current approaches, notably the idea of deficit-financed tax cuts.