In the years following the Great Recession, many economists and policymakers agreed that fiscal stimulus was critical to improving the faltering economy and helping to save or create millions of jobs. There is less agreement, however, on whether the stimulus should have been larger, if it contained the correct mix of tax cuts and targeted government spending, and whether it optimally utilized income support programs—notably TANF and SNAP—to stabilize the economy and protect millions of households from falling into poverty. On May 23, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a policy forum addressing how to make better use of fiscal stimulus in future downturns, with a focus on three new Hamilton Project papers.
On February 26th, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum featuring a diverse group of experts from around the country who discussed 13 targeted policy proposals that were released that day on reforming entitlement spending, tax reform, and how to create new sources of revenue and efficiency. The proposals provide specific strategies on how lawmakers can address many different areas of the budget, and address options to reduce both mandatory and discretionary spending.
Fiscal issues will rapidly come to the fore next fall as the federal government faces the looming expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, the onset of the deficit “trigger,” and another debate on the debt limit. Across the political spectrum, one of the few points on which today’s policymakers can agree is that the tax code is in desperate need of reform. On May 3, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy forum on the economic context for tax reform and the economic criteria that should be used when evaluating tax reform options.
Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote speech at a forum to kick-off The Hamilton Project’s 2010 policy agenda. The event featured two roundtable discussions to highlight innovative policy ideas and the more general challenges facing the U.S. economy.
The Hamilton Project released a briefing paper and convened a discussion on what economists know about fiscal stimulus — if it is appropriate, when should it be implemented, and how should it be done.