Blog

CBO Analysis of President Obama’s Budget Proposal

Tagged: , , . | Category: Blog

Comparison of Projected Revenues, Outlays, and Deficits in CBO's March 2015 Baseline and in CBO's Estimate of the President's BudgetLast month, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis of the president’s budget proposal.  The CBO projects the budget deficit from 2016-2025 (cumulative) at about $7.2 trillion, and estimates that the federal debt will rise to 77% of GDP by 2025.  The president’s suggestions are outlined by the CBO, and in their analysis, they feel that they would reduce deficits in future years (based on current projections).

The news from the CBO offers many opportunities for students to analyze information as well as charts and graphs.  The chart to the left shows the CBO’s estimates of revenues, outlays and deficits and compares them to the information in the president’s budget.

Students could compare the president’s budget to the current (April 29) agreed combined Senate/House budget.  What similarities and differences can be found?  What compromises were made?  What are potential effects of each?

Use UFR Lesson 1.5 on Balancing the Federal Budget to bring attention to the federal budget agreements being made.  What evidence, if any, can students find that those writing the budgets are working to balance the budget?

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Political Cartoons – Greece

Tagged: , , , . | Category: Blog

April 23, 2015

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

 

grc

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Who carries the income tax burden? A different look at “inequality”.

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

April 19, 2015

mark_perry_tax_day_2015_chart_1

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the top 20% of earners in the United States pay 84% of the federal income tax revenues while earning 51% of the national income.  The information comes from the Tax Policy Center out of Washington DC, but the American Enterprise Institute has a nice analysis of the article, too.

Most of the article can be summed up by the chart to the right, showing the federal tax burden by quintile.  It’s a great visual for students to analyze, especially if studying the tax system and the definition of “progressive tax”.  Use Lesson 1.4 on Taxation and the National Debt as a primer, but ask students to explain the negative tax burden for the bottom 40% of earners in the US.  What could that possibly mean?

 

 

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

House of Representatives votes to repeal the estate tax

Tagged: , , , , , . | Category: Blog

This week, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution to repeal the estate tax (240-179).  Although this doesn’t mean the tax is actually appealed, Forbes points out that it “sets the stage” for repeal in 2017.  They also note that there are not enough votes for it to pass in the Senate, and the president has already said he would veto the measure.

So what’s the point?  The so-called “death tax” affects a small percentage of estates – approximately 0.2% of all estates actually face having to pay the tax.  Reuters, though, states that it would increase the federal deficit by almost $270 billion over 10 years.

There are a number of interesting ways to bring this into the classroom.   The first could be to use UFR Lesson 1.4 on Taxation and the National Debt to analyze the pros and cons to repealing the estate tax.  A second could be to use UFR Lesson 1.5 on Balancing the Federal Budget to determine what a $270 billion influx to the deficit would do to the budet and national debt.

Another is to observe and research the political rhetoric surrounding the issue.  Have students read how MSNBC reports the event, versus the Wall Street Journal. What differences do they see?  Use UFR Lesson 2.5 on rhetoric to support the current issues, or use Lesson 2.4 on Political Beliefs and the Federal Budget.  All of these tie in very well with the issue of the estate tax.

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman, and the Fiscal Future

Tagged: , , , . | Category: Blog

Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman has an interesting analysis of UC Berkeley professor Brad DeLong’s posts about fiscal policy.  In two separate blog posts, Krugman looks at DeLong’s suggestions regarding the case for bigger government and the argument for a larger level of public debt, not a lower one.

Recently, on his blog (Equitablog at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth), DeLong released a draft of his comments for a panel presentation for  the “Rethinking Macroeconomics” conference.  In it, he looks at the “proper size” of the public sector and public debt in the 21st century, most specifically for countries in the North Atlantic.  He suggests that the proper size of both today should be significantly larger than in the past.  DeLong argues that the public sector is more involved in such aspects of life as education and pensions, and that the overall lack of public debt in the 20th century actually led to inefficiencies which could be remedied in the 21st century with higher public debt loads.

Krugman analyzes DeLong’s suggestions in two separate blog posts: one on the public sector and one on public debt.  In general, he agrees with DeLong and suggests this is a critical turning point of sorts  in macroeconomic theory.

For students, analyzing a new suggestion on fiscal policy can be an interesting and helpful.  Both of the posts (DeLong’s and Krugman’s) offer a great explanation of public goods and the definitions of rival and excludable.

This could also be a great current issue or suggestion to use with at least two different UFR lessons.  Lesson 1.5 looks at balancing the federal budget, and Lesson 2.4 looks at political beliefs and the federal budget.

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Affordable Care and the Supreme Court…revisited.

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

April 4, 2015

Bob Semro of the Bell Policy Center has an interesting overview of the Supreme Court’s history with the Affordable Care Act on HuffPost.  The current challenge up in front of the Supreme Court (King v. Burwell), looks not at the constitutionality of the law, but at the wording, especially the phrase “established by the state” (used multiple times in the law).

The argument coming forward is that this language was intended to force states into setting up their own marketplace for insurance, providing subsidies as an incentive.  SCOTUSblog provides an excellent overview of the case itself, and FactCheck looks at how many people may lose coverage depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Bernanke Blogs

Category: Blog

There’s a new economics blog on the block – former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has entered the blogosphere.  His blog rests with The Brookings Institute, a centrist think-tank in Washington DC.  It will be interesting to see what Dr. Bernanke has to say about current economic policies in the US and around the world!

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Affordable Care Act Political Cartoons

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

March 28, 2015

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

Cruz and Obamacare

Jeff Darcy 2015

Cruzcare COLOR

Steve Sack, 2015

Obamacare 5th year

Dave Granlund, 2015

Adam Zyglis - The Buffalo News - Ted Cruz on Obamacare COLOR - English - cruz, ted, obamacare, health care, reform, law, repeal, gop, republican, party, president, campaign, candidate

Adam Zyglis, 2015

 

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Federal Budget – Political Cartoons

Tagged: , , . | Category: Blog

March 23, 2015

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

Nate Beeler - The Columbus Dispatch - Budget Fantasy COLOR - English - gop, republicans, congress, barack obama, president, budget, spending, government, plan, proposal, politics, fantasy, unicorn

Nate Beeler, 2015

Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune - GOP Budget Magic - English - Magic Show, Magician, GOP, 2015 Budget, Congress, Republicans, Entitlements, Welfare, Food, Food Stamps, SNAP, Paul Ryan, Boehner, Fraud, Budget, Rich, Wealthy, 1, tax Cuts, taxes

Pat Bagley, 2015

Steve Sack - The Minneapolis Star Tribune - Repubs on a Roll COLOR - English - budget, Congress

Steve Sack, 2015

Nate Beeler - The Columbus Dispatch - Budget Balloon COLOR - English - barack obama, president, budget, debt, balloon, ball, chain, sustainable, 2016, gondola, spending, deficit, taxes, tax, spend, politics, congress, liberal, progressive, agenda

Nate Beeler, 2015

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Returning to Greece and the EuroZone

Tagged: , , . | Category: Blog

Although a few weeks ago, Harvard economist and NY Times blogger Paul Krugman stated that “Greece did Okay” on a deal to help with their crushing debt, there is information coming out that unless they receive new aid by April 20, Greece will have no cash available to fulfill promises of repayment and economic reform.

Is an independent Greece viable in the EuroZone?  This is the question that keeps coming up.  The News International seems to doubt it’s possible, outlining points such as Greece requesting relief from their debts, or an exit from the Euro and EuroZone.

CNN points out that Greece is not the only EuroZone country in trouble, nor is it the only one that could tumble the Euro – Spain is also a culprit, with high unemployment and a shaky economy.

Use UFR Lesson 4.4 on Europe’s Debt Crisis, and have students look at the differences between Greece, Spain, and Germany.  How could these issues affect the EuroZone, and how could it affect us here in the United States?

Posted by: | 0 Comments