Understanding Poverty and the Safety Net

Ryan’s “Opportunity Grant” Would Likely Force Cuts in Food and Housing Assistance

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan maintains that consolidating 11 safety-net and related programs into a single “Opportunity Grant” would give states the flexibility to provide specialized services to low-income people.  But providing these additional services would require cutting assistanc funded through the Opportunity Grant to other needy people.  And because SNAP (formerly food stamps) and housing assistance together make up more than 80 percent of the Oppoertunity Grant, the cuts would almost certainly reduce families’ access to these programs, which are effective at reducing poverty — particularly deep poverty. Read more

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More: Poverty and Income Analyses

Social Security

Understanding the Social Security Trust Funds

Few budgetary concepts generate as much unintended confusion and deliberate misinformation as the Social Security trust funds. Political candidates of both parties accuse their opponents of “raiding” the trust funds. Some writers disparage the trust funds as “funny money,” “IOUs,” or a “fiction.” All these claims are nonsense. In fact, the Social Security trust funds are invested in Treasury securities that are every bit as sound as the U.S. government securities held by investors around the globe; investors regard those securities as being among the world’s very safest investments. Read more

 

What the 2014 Trustees’ Report Shows About Social Security

Social Security can pay full benefits for close to two decades, the trustees’ latest annual report shows, but will then face a significant, though manageable, funding shortfall that the President and Congress should address in the near future. Doing so would permit changes that are gradual rather than sudden and allow people to plan their work, savings, and retirement with greater certainty. Read more

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