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January 26, 2013 at 12:29 AM

This week on Off the Charts, we focused on deficits and debt, state budgets and taxes, international budgeting, Social Security, and health reform.

  • On deficits and debt, Kathy Ruffing urged policymakers not to hold an increase in the debt limit hostage to deficit reduction. Richard Kogan showed how the "fiscal cliff" budget deal affects the automatic budget cuts scheduled for 2013. Paul Van de Water explained why the so-called "Boehner rule's" dollar-for-dollar linkage between a debt-limit increase and spending cuts would have devastating consequences.
  • On state budgets and taxes, Elizabeth McNichol explained why replacing state income taxes with bigger sales taxes doesn't make sense. Michael Mazerov listed four reasons why states shouldn't cut corporate income taxes.
  • On international budgeting, we highlighted the Open Budget Survey of 2012, which shows that 77 of 100 countries shut citizens out of critical budget decisions. The survey comes from the International Budget Partnership, an organization formed within CBPP that works with civil society to improve governance and budget systems and reduce poverty worldwide.
  • On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing pointed to new analysis from the Social Security actuaries confirming that the latest scare talk about the program's long-term finances is off base.
  • On health reform, Sarah Lueck corrected the misguided assumption that health reform, which will greatly improve young adults' access to affordable coverage, somehow hurts them.

In other news, we released papers on separating the debt limit from the deficit problem and why the "Boehner rule" is dangerous policy. We posted backgrounders on federal rental assistance programs and on three individual programs: Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, public housing, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program. We also updated our backgrounder on the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available in each state.