‘Line’ Items: Emmy Edition

From Red Carpet to Red Ink – The Emmy Awards last night celebrated the best in TV. In Washington, the plotlines are still being written for this fall, but fiscal issues are sure to get star treatment.

No “Glee” from S&P – A senior executive with rating agency Standard & Poor’s last week warned the U.S. that its AAA credit rating was at risk down the road if action is not taken to address mounting national debt. The official specifically mentioned that they would closely follow the recommendations of the White House fiscal commission later this year and how Congress reacts.

“Mad Men” (and Women) of CRFB Release Realistic Baselines – Last week CRFB released its Medium- and Long-Term Baselines, which forecast a bleak budget outlook based on realistic assumptions about future policy. CRFB calculates that, absent significant policy action to change course, debt will reach 75 percent of GDP in 2015, 89 percent in 2020, and 127 percent in 2030.

A “Modern Family” Get-Together in Jackson Hole – Economists and central bankers descended upon Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an annual economic symposium where monetary and fiscal policy were hot topics. In his address, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that the U.S. economy was sluggish and that the Fed stood ready to make sure the recovery continued. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet told the gathering that now that the worst of the financial crisis is over, governments must aggressively reduce their debt. CRFB President Maya MacGuineas was there and talked to CNBC about fiscal policy and the need for a credible debt reduction plan.

Presidential Panel Seeks “Big Bang Theory” for Tax Reform – On Friday the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board submitted a report on tax reform options. The report offers several ideas for improving the tax code, along with pros and cons of each. Hopefully, the report will initiate a much-needed discussion on fundamental tax reform that modernizes the inefficient tax code and broadens the tax base.

Boehner Seeks to be “The Closer” – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) gave a much-publicized speech on the economy last week that is seen as a part of his effort to provide the closing campaign argument for control of the House of Representatives. He devoted significant time to fiscal policy in his remarks. Of particular importance were his statements on the need for tax reform. His acknowledgement that some tax breaks need to be reexamined and the tax code simplified are welcomed and could open the door for bipartisan reform.

Are Unemployment Numbers Still “Breaking Bad”? – Observers are eagerly awaiting the August unemployment report due Friday as an indicator of the strength of the recovery.