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Fiscal Fitness

Posted by Stan Collender

Paul Krugman doesn't believe that the stimulus bill is likely to be enough to get the job done and seems almost despondent about the fact that the compromise that will allow something to pass the Senate made it even smaller.  Krugman thinks this bill will be it, nothing more will get enacted, this was a one-time all-you-can-eat offer, etc.  Here's the money quote:

The real question now is whether Obama will be able to come back for more once it’s clear that the plan is way inadequate. My guess is no. This is really, really bad.

I have no quarrel with Krugman's numbers, just his reading of the political tea leaves.  In fact, and as I'm planning to discuss in more detail in my "Fiscal Fitness" column this week in Roll Call, even if the president doesn't make a request for additional fiscal stimulus, there will a number of already scheduled opportunities for more stimulus to be enacted.  I'm even willing to predict that more will be adopted in the not too distant future if it is needed.

Posted by Stan Collender

Here's my "Fiscal Fitness" column from today's Roll Call. Enjoy, get infuriated, or just read for enlightenment.

It’s February: Do You Know Where the 2010 Budget Is?
February 3, 2009
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer

The Congressional Budget Act requires the president to submit to Congress a budget for the coming fiscal year between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in February. This year, that one-month period ended Feb. 2. So why, as is often the case, didn’t anyone involved with the budget have to spend Super Bowl Sunday trying to read through the Obama plan at the same time everyone else with a TV was munching on chips? And why isn’t most of today’s edition of Roll Call devoted to coverage of what the White House proposed?

Posted by Stan Collender

Here's my "Fiscal Fitness" column from this week's Roll Call.

Obama Could Be Most Fiscally Responsible President in History

January 27, 2009

Posted by Stan Collender

I thought t would be appropriate to devote the last "Fiscal Fitness" column that would be published during the Bush administration to its miserable budget legacy.

This appeared in this morning's Roll Call.



George W. Bush’s Budget Legacy Is Not Pretty
January 20, 2009

Depending on when you read this, the Obama presidency either is just hours away or has just started. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are ready to close the budget books on the Bush administration.

Just like a baseball pitcher taken out of the game with runners still on base, some of what is yet to happen will be charged to the record of President George W. Bush rather than the new person on the mound. As a result, the Bush numbers are not yet complete.

CBO Is Wrong

14 Jan 2009
Posted by Stan Collender

Here's my "Fiscal Fitness" column from this week's Roll Call.

CBO Has It Wrong: A Higher Deficit Isn’t Necessarily Evil

January 13, 2009
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer   

I’m a huge Congressional Budget Office fan, and its Budget and Economic Outlook report released last week did nothing to reduce my enthusiasm for what the CBO does and how it does it. This annual report is now almost as widely anticipated and as much a must-read as the budget the president sends to Congress each year.

But there’s one thing I strongly disagree with in the current report: the way the CBO characterizes the deficit. According to the opening statement (page 13), the 2009 budget outlook “will be dramatically worse than it was in 2008.” In the next paragraph, CBO the says there has been a “deterioration in the fiscal picture.” (The italics are mine in both quotes.)

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