Senior Fellow and Senior Counselor
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says the safety net doesn’t do enough to promote work, but his budget — which gets nearly two-thirds of its $5 trillion in non-defense cuts from low- and moderate-income programs — proposes deep cuts in the very programs that help low-income working families make ends meet, raise their families, and provide better opportunities for their children.
As our new paper explains, the Ryan budget would:
The Ryan budget lets these improvements expire in 2018.The Ryan budget also requires hundreds of billions of dollars of unspecified cuts in the part of the budget that includes these refundable tax credits. To meet this target, Congress likely would cut the refundable credits substantially.
These proposals would also increase work disincentives for some poor workers. For example, working-poor parents in the typical state lose Medicaid eligibility when their earnings reach just 61 percent of the poverty line, or $11,900 for a family of three. Under health reform, a parent who raises her earnings above this level could receive either continued Medicaid coverage (assuming the state takes up health reform’s Medicaid expansion) or subsidies to buy private coverage through an insurance exchange. Under the Ryan budget, if she raises her income even to just $12,000, she would lose access to coverage in many states.
SNAP helps some 6.4 million working households afford food. Given the depth of the cuts that states would have to make, it is a safe bet that millions of people in low-income working households would lose some or all SNAP benefits.