Although the "fiscal cliff" has been temporarily averted, as lawmakers seek to keep our country from plunging into another economic and financial crisis in the coming months, Congress must continue to make many tough decisions about spending and taxes. We must ensure that the millions of families across the country who are still struggling are not lost in this debate.
In 2010, more than 46.2 million people in the U.S. lived below the poverty line -- more than at any point during the five decades in which the U.S. Census Bureau has published poverty data. And sadly, the number of Americans living in poverty is projected to increase even more.
We acknowledge the need and support the effort to put America on a sustainable fiscal path. We must address the nation’s fiscal challenges now or we will suffer the consequences of failing to do so later. We understand that difficult choices will have to be made. But making difficult choices is not synonymous with making immoral choices.
The message is simple -- we are not asking for new measures or programs -– we are simply asking Congress not to increase poverty while reducing the federal deficit.View the Petition
The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center released a report October 1 that estimates 90 percent of Americans will face tax increases next year if Congress permits the scheduled expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to take place. While the TPC report only examines the impact of tax changes, $1.2 trillion over 10 years of across the board, automatic spending cuts are also scheduled to begin next year if Congress does not take steps to delay their impact or replace them with alternative deficit reduction.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued its annual projection report for FY 2012-2022, estimating a $1.079 trillion deficit for FY 2012, while suggesting that deficits will begin to shrink beginning in 2013 if the Bush-era tax cuts expire and the $1.2 trillion automatic cuts outlined in the Budget Control Act are allowed to take effect. However, such action would likely also trigger higher unemployment and a sharp decline in economic growth.
In efforts to stabilize growing deficits while restoring fiscal responsibility, the president and Congressional leaders are continuing to debate and propose new and revised approaches for addressing the deficit.
The IS Board of Directors has adopted Guiding Principles on Deficit Reduction and Tax Reform that will be used to guide IS analysis and commentary on budget, deficit reduction, and tax proposals
The Guiding Principles address spending and tax policy, and build on the premise that, as a matter of justice, fairness and effectiveness, steps taken to address the nation’s fiscal challenges should favor policies that will not exacerbate income inequality or increase poverty. Learn more.
Administration and Congressional Activity
Fiscal Cliff Agreement: American Taxpayer Act of 2012
Congress has reached an agreement to avoid the massive tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin in January 2013. .
Fiscal Deficit Commission (The Bowles / Simpson Commission)
Following its creation by President Obama's executive order in February 2010, a bipartisan deficit commission issued formal policy recommendations in December 2010 with the goal of bringing the budget closer to balance and restoring fiscal stability. .
President's Deficit Reduction Proposal
President Obama has unveiled his plan for reducing nation's long-term debt and deficits, including a framework to reduce the deficit by $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Learn more.
Super Committee / Sequestration (Budget Control Act of 2011)
In August 2011, President Obama and Congress reached a bipartisan agreement to raise the statutory debt limit through 2012 and reduce the deficit by over $2 trillion.
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
A bipartisan panel of 12 lawmakers from each party in each chamber were charged with recommending at least $1.2 trillion in further deficit reduction. Learn more.
$1.2 trillion in automatic, across the board spending cuts is scheduled to begin in January 2013 as a result of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failing to reach a broad deficit reduction agreement. Learn more.
In 2010, President Obama signed into law legislation that re-establishes statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting requirements mandating that most new spending increases or tax cuts be offset.