CBO Blog

  • A new study out yesterday provides yet more evidence of substantially widening inequality in life expectancy by education and socio-economic status.

  • For those who haven't seen it, the Joint Committee on Taxation earlier this week released an interesting report delineating a new approach to analyzing and estimating tax expenditures (that is, targeted tax provisions that reduce revenue through special credits, preferential tax rates, exclusions, exemptions, deductions, etc.). Ed Kleinbard, the chief of staff at the JCT, has made tax expenditure analysis a high priority, and the report released earlier this week is the first of many that JCT will be publishing in coming months.

  • CBO has issued a cost estimate for H.R. 2419, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Under the legislation, most of the policies would extend only through 2012; following baseline construction rules for mandatory programs, however, we assume that expiring programs are continued indefinitely. (Note to those who favor including all expiring tax provisions "in the baseline": this example demonstrates how the baseline is intended to work in conjunction with the budget scoring process.

  • I am testifying this morning before a joint hearing of the House Committee on the Budget and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. To view the hearing click here.

  • CBO released a new report this morning, prepared at the request of the Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a capital budget at the federal level. In addition, I am testifying on infrastructure spending this morning before a joint hearing of the House Committee on the Budget and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

  • CBO released a new monthly budget review today. During the first seven months of fiscal year 2008, CBO estimates that the federal government ran a deficit of $151 billion -- $70 billion more than during the same period in 2007. Outlays are roughly 7 percent higher than last year, whereas revenue is up by only about 3 percent. (Corporate income tax revenue is down by more than 13 percent.)

  • Last week, the LBJ School at the University of Texas-Austin held a conference on the history and future of Medicare, as part of a series of activities to commemorate Lyndon Johnson's 100th birthday.

  • CBO has released a cost estimate of HR 5830, the FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008. We estimate that the legislation would cost about $2.7 billion over the 2008-2013 period, assuming future appropriations consistent with the provisions in the bill. The bulk of that -- about $1.7 billion -- would be needed for the estimated subsidy cost of insuring mortgages under a new FHA program. (Loan guarantees are scored in the federal budget at their estimated subsidy cost.)

  • CBO issued a study today examining possible future private investment in new nuclear power plants. The extent of such investment depends not only on possible charges for carbon dioxide (if the Congress adopts climate change legislation) but also on existing incentives provided for such plants in the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005.

  • CBO released a paper today on trends in individual income tax revenue. Such revenue has fluctuated significantly since the early 1990s, increasing by 85 percent between fiscal years 1994 and 2000, then declining by 21 percent between 2000 and 2003, and then increasing by 47 percent between 2003 and 2007.