Standard&Poor’s, one of the three major credit rating agencies downgraded on Friday the USA credit rating, previously noted AAA, the highest possible level. The new rating AA+ is translating the worry of experts about the sustainability of US public finances, in the context of ever increasing public spending and public debt above $14.3 trillion. The debt deal signed by the Congress is projecting savings of $1.2 trillion, which S&P estimates to be insufficient.
In the New York Times of March 5th, economist Tyler Cowen gives his opinion on the situation prevailing in the United States – with a debt of $9 trillion (€ 6 435 billion). Citizens, he explains, are victims of a fiscal illusion and politicians know it. To get out of that vicious circle, Cowen suggests that we listen to the wisdom of Buchanan: “Professor Buchanan argued that the real choice was between a religion of budget balance and a rule of illusion.
This is the question addressed by Jason Fichtner and Katelyn Christ in their working paper for the Mercatus Center. They explain that a real tax reform is necessary, rather than…
Tax Policy Lessons from the 2000s brings together the most up-to-date research available on tax policy with trenchant analysis by America’s leading economists. The authors explore the role taxes should play in setting environmental policy; the effect of tax rate increases on labor supply and reported taxable income; the economic impact of deficit-financed tax reductions; and the effect of the tax system on businesses’ financial and investment decisions.
In a joint report from the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration, its authors, including AEI’s Joseph Antos, describe the United States’ fiscal outlook, asserting that the present budgetary path is unsustainable. If today’s policies, particularly those regarding entitlement programs, are left unchanged, Americans will face either a substantial erosion in their standard of living or an extremely severe crisis. The authors propose a choice of four policy paths that the United States could and should pursue to get itself back on track.
In his testimony on Capitol Hill, the economist Russel Roberts is exposing the reasons why the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has not the anticipated by government effect on jobs creation. He is pointing out that given the lack of success so far and the role uncertainty plays in the decision-making of entrepreneurs, investors and consumers, doing less might, paradoxically, be more successful than doing more, especially if the “more” that is done works in the wrong direction.
The Heritage Foundation launches a campaign against the dreaded estate tax (also known as the “death tax”) in the US. In the coming weeks, Congress will once again take up debate on the death tax, which expires for one year, beginning on January 1, 2010, before coming back in full force on January 1, 2011. Some in Congress are eager to prevent the death tax from expiring for even one year. Those that don’t want the tax to die will likely argue for a one-year extension of the tax at its current rate and exemption levels.