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Document Type: Series/The Government We Deserve

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Teddy Roosevelt Redux? (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

The debate over the relationship between government and the rich has been part of every presidential contest for more than a century. But myths and misunderstandings pervade attempts to compare 2012 and 1910 with policy prescriptions in mind. Chief among the myths propagated by both political parties is that, for better or worse, larger and more engaged government has come about through taxing the rich.

Published: 12/14/11
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The Pointless Debate Over the Social Security Trust Fund  (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

What does matter is that Social Security expenses are expected to rise by about 50 percent—from about 4.3 to 6.3 percentage points of GDP—from 2008 to 2030, and taxes aren't. As the baby boomers retire, higher expenses and less tax revenue mean that the national deficit will rise year after year.

Published: 03/24/11
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The Sum of All We Are  (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

What allows us to live and thrive in a good society? To grow and progress so much that we consider it a failure to have a few years of negative or low growth? To live in peace, at least within our borders? To enjoy almost endless possibility?

Published: 01/13/11
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Are You Paying Your Fair Share for Medicare? (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

What do you pay in Medicare taxes? And what Medicare benefits can you expect? It's no secret that early generations of Social Security beneficiaries got benefits worth more than the taxes they had paid, although the most recent waves of retirees getting Social Security can make a stronger case that they have paid for their benefits. But let's leave Social Security aside for the moment to consider an even bigger problem of the same stripe. Past and current retirees, and most working-age adults, will never pay for all their Medicare benefits.

Published: 01/06/11
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Our Newly Elected Tax Collectors (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

Call it happenstance, but in the gospel proclaimed in many Christian churches on Sunday, October 24—about a week before the election—Jesus admonishes those "convinced of their own self-righteousness," then makes a tax collector the hero in the parable cited. Actually, tax collectors seem to come out okay in a lot of religious stories; take the Buddhist one about the brahmin Dhananjani, an unscrupulous tax collector who exploited both the king and the public, yet still could at death attain a happier rebirth. Not to downplay these religious themes, but I couldn't help seeing a secular twist: more than in any recent period, our newly elected representatives, many of whom ran on platforms of self-righteousness, are called to be our tax collectors.

Published: 11/04/10
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Can Budget Offices Help Us Address Demographic Pressure? (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

As pressures mount on the nation's long-term budget, the Congressional Budget Office now views the aging of the population as the main stressor and health care costs as a close second. Yet, CBO and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have traditionally offered only limited analysis and estimates on addressing these demographic concerns, often leaving them to the Social Security Administration, which focuses only on the Social Security piece of the budget puzzle

Published: 09/20/10
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The Fight Over Fiscal Rectitude: Politics or Economics? (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

Decades ago, my parents taught me a simple lesson: when something goes awry and its outcome remains uncertain, do what you can and should do to the best of your capability. The future may not be entirely in your control, but by setting some good things in motion you make tough issues easier to handle.

Published: 07/15/10
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How Social Security Can Costlessly Offset Declines in Private Pension Protection (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

Published: 06/30/10
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How Middle-Age Retirement Adds to Recession Woes (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

Expressed in various forms, the idea is that baby boomers' retirement isn't really a problem until the economy fully revives, that people in late middle age should quit to make room for younger workers, and that the multi-decade failure to adjust retirement ages for longer lives is a can we can keep kicking down the road.

Published: 06/02/10
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Why Economic Growth Isn't Enough (Series/The Government We Deserve)
C. Eugene Steuerle

Failure to understand the causes of today's historic impasse will stymie those budget reformers tempted to believe we can use the traditional pro-growth strategy to get our fiscal house in order.

Published: 05/12/10
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