Morning Action: Tax Day
TAXES. If you’re a taxpayer wondering where your tax dollars were spent in 2013, the Heritage Foundation has the answer. Government benefits, namely Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, consume 49 percent of all federal spending.
DEFICIT. Though the Congressional budget office has reduced the deficit projection in its revised budget outlook, it is “not re-evaluating its view of the long-term consequences of a rising federal debt” (sub. req’d):
Noting federal debt held by the public would reach 78 percent of GDP by 2024, down a tick from the 79 percent forecast in February, the CBO said the debt still is twice the average of the past four decades and “such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences.” The agency said higher federal borrowing would eventually raise the cost of investment by business, resulting in a smaller capital stock and lower productivity and wages than if federal borrowing were more limited.
“In addition, high debt means that lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges,” the agency said.
Deficit hawks say the long-term projections and underlying trends that show an aging population consuming more government services remain a major concern despite the changing near-term picture.
Moreover, the Heritage Foundation explains “the operations of mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs), are improperly accounted for in the budget. Without that distortion, both spending and the deficit in 2014 would be higher by about $85 billion.”
ENERGY EFFICIENCY. The Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill may come to the floor for debate next month (sub. req’d):
The GOP co-sponsor of a Senate energy efficiency measure said he is “hopeful” the bill will come to the floor next month and dismissed the notion that Republicans will stall the bill to deny Democratic sponsor Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 2% an achievement to trumpet in her re-election campaign.
“She’s already gotten it through committee with me twice with big votes,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 28% said. Shaheen is expected to be challenged for reelection by former Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican who moved to New Hampshire after losing his Massachusetts Senate seat in 2012 to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 13%, said last week he hoped to bring up the bill (S 2074) “very early next work period.”