Harvard Students Look at Federal Spending

The Harvard Political Review – an undergraduate journal on politics and public policy supported by Harvard’s Institute of Politics – has released the FY 2013 Annual Report of the USA, a research tool offering an examination of the federal budget and challenges facing American taxation and spending policy.

Key findings from the report:

  • Without reform, Social Security beneficiaries will face a 23 percent benefit cut in 2033. By 2087, beneficiaries will receive 28 percent less than calculated under the current benefit formula.
  • Annual growth in Medicare costs has fallen from 7.1 percent between 2000 and 2005 to 3.8 percent between 2007 and 2010. Though experts disagree on why health costs have slowed, federal health care spending over the next 10 years will be $770 billion lower than current projections should the trend continue.
  • Many tax expenditures disproportionately benefit high-income taxpayers. For instance, taxpayers at the bottom of income distribution can only reap benefits from refundable tax credits, yet 81 percent of tax expenditures are non-refundable deductions or exclusions.
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