The Peterson-Pew Budget Commission met from 2009 to 2011 to make recommendations about how to improve the nation’s fiscal future. This site is historical and not regularly updated.

Papers and Publications

Dec 10, 2009
The Hill | Dec. 10, 2009   In the next few days, the House and Senate will engage in their usual end-of-year dance and vote on two massive omnibus appropriations bills to keep the government funded. The bills will help avoid another series of stopgap Continuing Resolutions that have kept the lights on in much of the federal government since October 1—the start of the new fiscal year. Lawmakers, anxious to leave for the year and smelling the proverbial jet fumes, will consider the...
Sep 30, 2009
Albany Union Times | Sept. 30, 2009   Thursday marks the beginning of the new fiscal year, and while there are achievements to celebrate, we have a serious failing to fix. Indeed, we may require a new fiscal year resolution. To start, we can look back and appreciate the professional judgment, perhaps aided by a bit of good fortune, that enabled the Federal Reserve, Treasury, FDIC, two presidents and Congress to act boldly to mitigate the effects of the financial meltdown on the U.S....
Sep 16, 2009
On September 16, the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform hosted its first public event -- Beyond PAYGO. Five panelists discussed recent proposals to gain control over mandatory spending and put the budget on a sustainable path. (See the webcast of the event below). The Commission also issued its first policy paper at the event, “A Closer Look at the President’s FY 2010 Budget Process Reform Proposals.” The "Closer Look" paper examines in detail how the...
Sep 16, 2009
This paper examines the Obama administration budget reform proposals and evaluates how (and if) they would improve the budget process and restore fiscal responsibility. In particular, the paper examines the administration’s proposed changes to the calculation of the budget baseline and its reintroduction of a statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) framework.
Jul 15, 2009
With the retirement of the baby boom generation drawing closer, concerns about the sustainability of current policies have become critical elements of the budget process. The seriousness of this problem should prompt us to reexamine the concepts and goals underpinning the budget process and find ways to focus budget decision-makers on the long-term implications of our current policy paths. This paper reviews some of these challenges and recommends ways they might be addressed.
May 13, 2009
Are the rules of thumb and categories we have explicitly and implicitly established in our budget process for resource allocation appropriate and aligned with our overarching fiscal, programmatic, and political goals? Do they establish the right incentives? Or do they create distortions? This paper looks at the bias in favor of mandatory over discretionary spending, tax expenditures, and capital budgeting.
Apr 23, 2009
This paper reviews the classes of information included in the budget resolution. It then examines potential changes to the contents in an attempt to focus deliberations and debate on core budgetary and fiscal questions. This paper also includes a discussion of current practice and budget principles. A more detailed discussion of fiscal information is included in a separate paper.
Apr 22, 2009
This paper lays out a model for converting the concurrent budget resolution into a joint resolution. It includes a description of the model and a discussion of its key advantages and disadvantages. Particular attention is devoted to how it would impact budget enforcement, both in terms of how budget limits would be enforced and the processes used to implement, comply with, or modify the limits.
Apr 21, 2009
Ripon Forum | April 21, 2009  This past February, four months after the beginning of the fiscal year, Congress passed the last bill needed to fund the government. But what it finally passed was more than just late — it was sloppy. Instead of offering separate appropriation bills that could be debated thoughtfully and with undivided attention, Congress lumped them into one, gigantic 225-page “omnibus” bill, and hurriedly passed it on the floor. Does anyone think...
Apr 17, 2009
The budget resolution should prompt debate about the implications of budgetary choices and aggregate totals for fiscal and economic policy, both near- and longer-term. This memo discusses options for increasing this focus through the development of better metrics, assessments of the macroeconomic implications of various budget plans, and the possible adoption of fiscal goals and targets. It also suggests ways to improve the budget process.
Website Design and Development, Washington DC