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Author: Penner, Rudolph G.

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Does Debt Matter?  (Commentary)
Rudolph G. Penner

It is politically implausible to solve entirely America's budget problem on the spending side, Rudolph Penner states in "The International Economy" journal (spring 2013). Taxes will have to increase as well.

Published: 06/26/13
Availability: HTML


The Hard Road to Fiscal Responsibility (Article)
John L. PalmerRudolph G. Penner

The paper describes the current U. S. fiscal problems showing that without significant changes in revenue and spending policies, the country is headed for a sovereign debt crisis similar to that afflicting countries in Southern Europe. Various options for stabilizing the debt-GDP ratio are analyzed including the proposals of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and the Bipartisan Policy Center's Deficit Reduction Task Force. The budgets passed by the House of Representatives and the president's response are also considered. The paper goes on to describe the Budget Control Act passed after the debt limit debate of 2011.

Published: 10/17/12
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Controlling the Deficit: The Debate Continues (Research Report)
John L. PalmerRudolph G. Penner

The report discusses the important budget events of 2011. It begins with the House Republican budget and the president's response. The very different approaches to health and discretionary spending and tax policy are analyzed in detail. The policy debate continued into the confused debt limit negotiations of July. The Budget Control Act finally emerged. It capped discretionary spending and created a "super committee" that was to propose additional deficit reductions. The committee failed miserably. An automatic across-the-board spending cut is supposed to result from that failure. The report describes its effects on defense and nondefense spending.

Published: 01/20/12
Availability:   PDF


Congress Begs a Crisis to Fix the Debt (Commentary)
Rudolph G. Penner

In a contribution to the CNNMoney.com, Rudolph Penner discusses the super committee's failure to fix the deficit.

Published: 11/21/11
Availability: HTML


Changing the Budget Process (Testimony)
Rudolph G. Penner

Rudolph Penner's testimony before the House Committee on the Budget on proposals for changing the budget process.

Published: 09/21/11
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The Paul Ryan Budget Proposal (Video / Commentary)
Rudolph G. PennerDonald MarronJohn Holahan

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on April 5, 2011 released a far reaching budget proposal to cut $6 trillion within 10 years. The plan would reform the tax code, cut tax rates, subject Medicare to a stringent budget, and turn Medicaid into state block grants. In this video, Urban Institute policy experts Rudy G. Penner, Donald Marron, and John Holahan size up the proposal and the budget crisis.

Published: 04/14/11
Availability: HTML


Committees Tackle the Deficit (Policy Briefs)
John L. PalmerRudolph G. Penner

The United States faces a dire budget problem, largely the result of the aging of the population and soaring health costs. The president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force both agree that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid reforms are necessary, although health costs are the far greater problem. They also recommend restructuring the personal and corporate tax systems. These commissions' efforts show that reasonable policy packages can get bipartisan support even in an intensely partisan era.

Published: 02/15/11
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Will It Take a Crisis to Fix Fiscal Policy? (Research Report)
Rudolph G. Penner

Unless current policies are reformed, the national debt will continue to grow relative to GDP until a sovereign debt crisis, like those in Ireland and Greece, is inevitable. Although the nation is becoming more concerned about spiraling debt and a presidential fiscal commission and other groups have suggested reforms, the president and congressional leaders have been unwilling to recommend specific policy reforms. Consequently, it is becoming more and more likely that policymakers will not undertake necessary reforms until a financial crisis forces their hand. (This paper will appear in the April 2011 issue of Business Economics.)

Published: 02/04/11
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The Budget Process: A Maze Perverted by Trickery (Commentary)
Rudolph G. Penner

The congressional budget process has been so perverted that it no longer imposes much discipline on fiscal decision-making, comments Rudolph Penner, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. Penner explains how the situation arose and what to do about it.

Published: 01/21/11
Availability: HTML


Have Recent Budget Policies Contributed to Long-Run Fiscal Stability? (Research Report)
John L. PalmerRudolph G. Penner

The United States is on a disastrous fiscal path. In the conflict between restoring solvency and stimulating the economy, the president's budget is more focused on the latter. Yet even before the recession Medicare and Medicaid, along with Social Security, accounted for almost 50 percent of noninterest spending. Payouts have risen rapidly since, and these entitlements are growing faster than the economy and tax revenues. Whether the 2010 health reform and other recent budget balancing measures have helped stabilize the deficit is explored in this report.

Published: 12/08/10
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