Tim Shaw

On the debt limit, the best fiscal game is the one not played
Neither the livelihood of federal workers nor the fate of the global economy should be bargaining chips

OPINION — During the 35-day government shutdown, the country looked on as American leaders repeatedly rolled the dice with both lives and property on the line. Each time, total disaster was narrowly avoided and Americans breathed a sigh of relief. That respite may be short-lived, however, with more fiscal challenges closing in.

Policymakers now have only 11 days to avoid yet another partial shutdown. And even if Congress and the president hammer out a long-overdue budget deal in the next two weeks, another fiscal fight — with even higher stakes — is on the horizon.

As Both Parties Play the Blame Game, Our Fiscal Future Hangs in the Balance
Policymakers sacrifice long-term economic health for short-term political gain

OPINION — This is fiscal insanity.

The federal deficit grew 17 percent to $779 billion in the fiscal year just ended, but that’s not the worst of the problem. By the administration’s own estimate, the deficit will increase almost 40 percent to nearly $1.1 trillion in the current fiscal year. With few policymakers batting an eye, this disturbing trend has no end in sight.

One Way to Fix the Child Care Crisis? Look to the Tax Law
‘Opportunity Zones’ incentive can help close the early childhood gap

OPINION — America faces a mounting child care crisis. Too many families lack access to safe, affordable and high-quality care for their infants and toddlers. But a small but important provision in last year’s tax law, designed to spur investment in under-resourced communities, could provide an unlikely solution.

That solution comes in the form of a new economic development incentive known as Opportunity Zones. Under the tax law, investors will receive a steep reduction in taxes on their capital gains in exchange for substantial and long-term investment in low-income communities designated as Opportunity Zones. This tax incentive could be combined with others in the economic development toolkit, such as the New Markets Tax Credit and historic building preservation tax credits, to support a wide variety of investments in real estate and businesses.

Opinion: How Debt Limit Drama Gets Resolved Is Up in the Air
Policymakers have always extended limit just in time — but the script is now flipped

In the first year of the Trump administration, Capitol Hill has specialized in drama. From health care to taxes, decisions affecting large swaths of the economy have come down to the last minute. Months of wrangling over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act culminated in an ignominious defeat. Tax reform also came down to the wire in the Senate, narrowly squeaking through in a middle-of-the-night roll call. Next up, a debt limit drama could be on the way.

The debt limit’s suspension quietly ended on Dec. 8, the same day policymakers chose once again to punt on negotiating a budget agreement. In what has become ordinary practice over the past seven years, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the implementation of so-called extraordinary measures — accounting maneuvers that temporarily give Treasury extra borrowing room (and thus, cash) to pay the government’s bills while operating at the debt limit. BPC’s projection is that those measures would last until March, although tax reform, spending cap adjustments, and additional disaster relief could shorten the time frame.