CBO Blog

  • June 3, 2011

    In 2009, about 39 million foreign-born people lived in the United States, making up more than 12 percent of the U.S. populationthe largest share since 1920. Naturalized citizens (foreign-born people who have fulfilled the requirements of U.S. citizenship) accounted for about 17 million of the total.

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  • June 3, 2011

    In the current fiscal year, the federal government will spend about $1 trillion on health care. More than half of that will be through Medicare, a little more than a quarter on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the remaining fifth on veterans’ health care, the military health system, health research, and other programs.

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  • June 2, 2011

    Until recently the obligations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two federally chartered institutions (called government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) that provide credit guarantees for almost half of the outstanding mortgages in the United States—had no official backing from the federal government, nor were any costs associated with them reflected in the federal budget.

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  • June 1, 2011

    Every year, the Congress is asked to approve the procurement of one years worth of expensive items such as ships and aircraft. Yet those decisions have long-term implications. Well-constructed 30-year acquisition plans for major weapon systems can provide information about those implications.

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  • May 26, 2011

    Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs has elicited various concerns. One concern is that DTC advertising may add to spending on drugs by consumers, insurers, and the federal government without providing enough benefits to justify that spending.

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  • May 25, 2011

    As required by law, CBO prepares regular reports on its estimate of the number of jobs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which is often referred to as the economic stimulus package.  In its latest report, issued today, CBO provides estimates of ARRA’s overall impact on employment and economic output in the first qu

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  • May 24, 2011

    The deductibility of charitable donations has been a feature of the U.S. individual income tax almost as long as the modern income tax has been in existence. Although the deduction encourages charitable giving, like other forms of preferential tax treatment, it results in loss revenue to the federal government.

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  • May 18, 2011

    Over the past two years, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has guaranteed more than 17 percent of new and refinanced mortgages on single-family homes in the United States. The estimated lifetime costs of FHAs single-family mortgage insurance program are recorded in the federal budget using a methodology spelled out in the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA).

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  • May 17, 2011

    This morning Joseph Kile, CBOs Assistant Director for Microeconomic Studies, testified before the Senate Finance Committee to discuss the federal role in paying for highways. The testimony draws on several recent CBO publications on highways and other infrastructure.

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  • May 16, 2011

    For programs funded through annual appropriations (which are called “discretionary” programs), CBO uses the funding provided for the current fiscal year as the starting point for its baseline budget projections for the coming decade. Specifically, appropriations for those programs are generally assumed to grow each year with inflation.

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