Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Media Coverage

Sep 28, 2017|The New York Times

With Tax Cuts on the Table, Once-Mighty Deficit Hawks Hardly Chirp

For years, Republican lawmakers lamented the soaring national debt, pressing for spending cuts and clinging to the mantle of fiscal responsibility. But last week, Senate Republicans hammered out a deal to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, betting that supercharged growth will make up for lost revenue, a potentially dubious prospect. The tax plan outlined Wednesday by the White House and Republican leaders in the House and Senate could cost more than $2 trillion over the next decade, according to a preliminary estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan advocacy group.

Sep 28, 2017|MSNBC

GOP Tax Plan Leaves Out Key Details

Maya MacGuineas and Lanhee Chen break down Trump's plan on Andrea Mitchell Reports.

Sep 27, 2017|The Wall Street Journal

The Tenuous Logic Behind Republicans’ About-Face on Debt

But permanently widening deficits is risky when the publicly held federal debt, now 77% of GDP, is on track to hit 91% in a decade as aging baby boomers draw on Social Security and Medicare. A $1.5 trillion tax cut would push that to 100%, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a watchdog group.

Oct 18, 2017|The Washington Post

Trump’s still-wrong claim that the U.S. is the world’s highest-taxed developed nation

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, also using 2014 data, looked at government revenue as a share of the economy. Again, the United States ranks near the bottom of the list — far below the OECD average.

Oct 18, 2017|New York Magazine

Trump Is Afraid His Tax Plan Is Doomed. He Should Be.

But okay: Let’s say the House holds its nose and agrees to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit while resisting the urge to take food away from impoverished children. Even in this rosy scenario, Republican tax writers would still find themselves back in the vicinity of square one. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the GOP’s initial framework for its tax cuts would add $2.2 trillion to the deficit over the next decade — $700 billion more than the Senate resolution allows.

Oct 17, 2017|Axios

GOP corporate tax cuts benefit the wealthy, but could help workers too

The GOP tax plan framework, released last month, almost undoubtedly benefits the wealthy — and that's largely because of the corporate tax provisions. "It's not that this tax plan is a huge direct tax cut to rich individuals, it's that it's a huge tax cut to businesses, and those businesses are owned by rich individuals," said Marc Goldwein of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Oct 17, 2017|LifeZette

The Tax Break for the Rich the Democrats Are Fighting to Keep

The tax break costs the federal government a massive amount of money — a projected $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. And it primarily benefits upper-income taxpayers. According to the Tax Foundation, only 28 percent of taxpayers claim the deduction, and the top 1 percent of taxpayers claim a third of the benefit. Households with incomes less than $100,000 get only 10 percent of the deduction.

"Philosophically, it should be close to a no-brainer," said Marc Goldwein, vice president and policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Oct 17, 2017|Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Tax cuts get the attention, but what about the spending?

In fiscal 2018, the federal budget is $4.094 trillion. Just two decades ago, in fiscal 1997, Washington spent $1.635 trillion. That’s a 150 percent increase in barely a generation. Simply imposing a freeze on spending for three years — no “cuts,” just spend the same amount over that period — would balance the budget, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget admits.

Oct 15, 2017|Townhall

Do the Math. Tax Cuts Are Bound to Increase the National Debt

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget supports tax reform but has observed that tax cuts in 1981 and the early 2000s widened deficits and figured that for every dollar in cuts, economy activity would have to produce $5 to pay for itself. Don't hold your breath on that score.

Oct 13, 2017|The Hill

GOP eyes big prize for tax bill: Manchin's vote

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscally conservative advocacy group, estimates Trump's plan could add $2.2 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years.

Oct 13, 2017|Washington Examiner

It’s not too late for the Senate to avoid fiscal disaster

That means that any net tax cuts would have to sunset, as did the tax cuts passed by George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003.

As a result, Republicans will have to decide what is in and what is out. So far, the GOP has spelled out roughly $5.8 trillion in tax cuts, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, versus only $3.6 trillion in offsets. That means they have to find $2.2 trillion of cuts to sunset. And if they can't agree to raise revenues by eliminating certain tax breaks, such as the state and local tax deduction, they'll have to sunset more.

Oct 13, 2017|

Trump Muddles Economic Indicators

But Trump’s suggestion that stock value somehow reduces the national debt is misleading.

“It’s nonsense,” Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Government, told us.

“There is no relationship between the national debt and the value of the stock market, which is the total value of a selection of stocks owned by individuals and being held abroad,” Goldwein said. “It’s just silly. They are totally different economic indicators.”

Oct 12, 2017|Morning Consult

U.S. Can’t Afford a Tax Bill That Worsens National Debt

In fact, the “Big Six” tax framework – a Republican approach to tax reform endorsed by the Freedom Caucus – would likely worsen our nation’s fiscal problems.  Since the release of the “Big Six” framework, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that the framework in its current form could cost up to $2.2 trillion over the next decade. The Tax Policy Center estimated it would cost $2.4 trillion over the same amount of time.  

Oct 12, 2017|The New York Times

Trump Makes Puzzling Claim That Rising Stock Market Erases Debt

“There seems to be way too much pivoting away from the basic fact that we will have to make some hard choices to get our unsustainable national debt under control,” said Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, in Washington. “A growing stock market is not going to fix that.”

Oct 12, 2017|The Associated Press

AP FACT CHECK: Trump vs. Grassley on Tax Cuts in History

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found in the spring that Trump's package would be the third largest since 1940. That package has since shrunk, placing it fifth largest at most.

Oct 12, 2017|CBS News

Is Trump right that rising stock market can reduce national debt?

The rise in the stock market alone could have no effect on the nation's debt unless those stocks are sold, at which point those shareholders would pay capital gains taxes to the federal government on their earnings.

And even then, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) makes the point that in 2016, capital gains taxes made up just 4 percent of federal revenue. "Even a record jump in capital gains next year would only reduce further borrowing by about $50 billion," notes CRFB. And that, the group says, is less than 1/10 of what the U.S. is currently projected to borrow next year.

The president is right about a couple of the underlying facts, though. The national debt is about $20.3 trillion. Gross debt, CRFB notes, rose $9.3 trillion under Obama, from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion, although Obama alone isn't responsible for the increased debt.

Oct 12, 2017|The Fiscal Times

Trump’s Head-Scratching Claim About the Stock Market and the National Debt

Trump’s comments did find some defenders, who said Trump wasn't completely off base. MarketWatch’s Steve Goldstein argued that “to a degree, the ability to service the debt has improved because of the stock market’s rise.”

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget was having none of that, noting that capital gains taxes accounted for only 4 percent of total federal revenue last year, and even a record jump next year wouldn't amount to much. In the end, they say, "there is no 'sense' in which higher stock market value led to lower national debt. The two numbers are completely unrelated to each other."

Oct 11, 2017|USA Today

Trump to tout tax plan at Pennsylvania event with truckers

The Trump administration is also facing broader questions about how it will fund the tax plan. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the plan calls for roughly $2.2 trillion of net tax cuts.

Oct 11, 2017|USA Today

What Donald Trump is not telling you about his tax overhaul plan: Some will pay more taxes

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said delivering tax cuts for everyone would only work if there is a big budget surplus and low debt.

"That's the opposite of the fiscal environment they have now," she said. "If you want reform, some taxes go up, and some go down."

Oct 11, 2017|Fox Business Network

How Trump’s optimism helped the US economy

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas, CivicForumPac Chairman Ford O’ Connell and Fox News political contributor Tammy Bruce on how President Trump has sparked optimism in the U.S. economy and how the president can keep growing the economy.

Oct 11, 2017|Vanity Fair

Trump keeps accidentally making the case against tax cuts

Unfortunately, he either doesn’t understand or is powerless to stop himself from seeking adulation for the very things that experts say point to an economy that doesn’t need a giant, deficit-funded stimulus in the form of big, yuge tax cuts. As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s Maya MacGuineas told NPR, “If we have a tax cut right now at a time when the economy doesn’t need stimulus and our debt is at near record levels, that will do a lot of damage for the economy and it will be a huge missed opportunity.”

Oct 10, 2017|The Washington Post

Some good alternatives to Trump’s tax-plan debacle

“With policymakers contemplating whether they should rely on $1 trillion or more of dynamic revenues to justify tax cuts, it is important to note that such dramatic gains are not realistic or appropriate to assume,” says the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “While one cannot predict the dynamic feedback of tax reform that is not yet written, $300 to $400 billion of feedback is a reasonable guess for the possible feedback from thoughtful and responsible reform. Irresponsible revenue-reducing reform is likely to produce significantly less revenue and would likely even lose revenue from dynamic effects over the long term.” And finally, we should not be worsening our income inequality problem in the name of growth. If you want to do middle-class tax reform and corporate tax reform, do those things. That essentially means scrapping the president’s plan and starting over.

Oct 10, 2017|CNBC

Trump again calls America 'the highest taxed nation in the world'—here's how the US actually compares

Regardless of how you measure the tax burden, the president's claim is not borne out by the facts. As measured by percentage of GDP, numerous European countries that provide more social services tax their citizens more heavily than the U.S. does, the BBC reports: "In 2015, the U.S. tax take came in at 26.4 percent of GDP, well below countries such as Italy at 43.3 percent, France at 45.5 percent and Denmark at 46.6 percent."

You can see this reflected in a chart by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in 2016, which uses slightly different numbers. By their calculations, Denmark comes in at over 50 percent. But the U.S. remains steady at 26 percent, significantly below the average of 34 percent.

Oct 9, 2017|NBC News

Trump’s Tax Plan Might Not Add Up

As it stands, the math might not work anyway: An estimate by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget pegged the cost of the initial framework at $2.2 trillion.

Oct 6, 2017|C-SPAN

Maya MacGuineas on the Republican Tax Reform Plan

Maya MacGuineas talked about the impact of the Republican tax plan on the national debt.

Oct 6, 2017|NPR

Speaking Freely, Retiring Sen. Corker Warns GOP He Could Oppose Tax Plan

"It's really disheartening to watch how many people are putting the debt second to their desire for big tax cuts when what we need to do is reform the tax code," said Maya MacGuineas, who runs the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscal watchdog group. "If we have a tax cut right now at a time when the economy doesn't need stimulus and our debt is at near record levels, that will do a lot of damage for the economy and it will be a huge missed opportunity."

Oct 6, 2017|The Fiscal Times

The Fed Has a Warning on Trump's Tax Plan

Fiscal watchdog Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget struck a similar note, telling NPR: "If we have a tax cut right now at a time when the economy doesn't need stimulus and our debt is at near record levels, that will do a lot of damage for the economy and it will be a huge missed opportunity."

Oct 6, 2017|PolitiFact

Are Republicans paying for tax cuts with reductions in Medicare, Medicaid?

Passage of the budget would tee up a 51-vote Senate threshold for the tax proposal -- easier than the regular 60-vote threshold for Senate business. While the spending cuts could also be passed within that 51-vote bill, the current indications from GOP leaders is that this 51-vote measure would be reserved for taxes, not spending, said Patrick Newton, a spokesman for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that is generally considered hawkish on deficits.

And if spending cuts to Medicare and Medicaid need to go through the regular 60-vote process, they would be highly unlikely to pass in the current Congress, Newton said.

Schumer’s office acknowledges such difficulties but adds that an existing "pay-as-you-go" budget law would require mandatory cuts in any case.

Newton added, however, that Congress has previously waived this requirement through legislation.

"Presumably, Schumer would be interested in ‘wiping the scorecard’ and avoiding those cuts," Newton said.

Oct 5, 2017|The Washington Post

Every lawmaker should agree with Corker on this

Alternatively, they might follow the suggestions of groups such as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which argues:

Instead of relying on magic bullets and fairy dust to pay for tax cuts, policymakers should ensure rate reductions do not add to the debt. Instead, they should focus on pursuing comprehensive tax reform as has been proposed by numerous commissions, committees, and tax experts from across the political spectrum.

By repealing tax preferences, broadening the tax base, and reducing rates, tax reform has the potential to reduce distortions, improve simplicity and fairness, and grow the economy more – and in a much more sustained way – than tax cuts.

In 1986, Republicans and Democrats came together to agree on a package that cut some tax rates almost in half but also broadened the base enough to ensure revenue neutrality. This model will do more to grow the economy – especially for future generations – than simple tax cuts.

Oct 5, 2017|The Hill

Deficit hawks voice worry over direction of tax plan

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates for debt reduction, estimated that every $1 of tax cut would need to produce $6 of economic activity to pay for itself. The range of studies they reviewed estimated that each dollar would only produce between $0.10 and $2.35 instead.