What's Changed in the Fiscal Commission's Final Draft?

I'm still digesting the fiscal commission's final draft [PDF], which was released this morning, and won't have extensive analysis until later.

In the meantime, here's a little scoop for you: I obtained this list of changes [PDF] which catalogs how the budget balancing plan changed since the commission's chairmen released a working paper a month ago. It's a nice window into the group's deliberation -- and who wanted what.

Most disappointing? The committee shelved a plan to raise the cap on Social Security taxes, so any salary over approximately $106,000 is still tax-free. Turns out I'm wrong, and my beloved increase in the cap on Social Security taxation remains in the plan. Now, my new least favorite change is the return of the mortgage interest deduction, though now as a credit, which is slightly more progressive. You'll also see Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad walking back a plan to cut agriculture subsidies. The best changes? Delays in spending cuts and a front-loaded payroll tax holiday designed to provide immediate economic stimulus.

-- Tim Fernholz

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