I recently described a new study finding that public programs keep tens of millions of Americans out of poverty. The same study illustrates that after policymakers weakened certain elements of the safety net, deep poverty — that is, the share of the population with incomes below half the poverty line — rose sharply.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The Center just issued a report on House Republicans’ proposed cuts in the WIC nutrition program. Here’s the main story:
With anti-poverty programs under serious attack in Washington, here’s something to keep in mind: a major new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds that public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty — primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor — and that the poverty rate would double without these programs.
Economist John B. Taylor argued in the Wall Street Journal recently that President Obama has dramatically expanded the federal government and that we should return federal spending roughly to pre-recession levels as a share of the economy. Both parts of this argument are seriously flawed.
States and school districts have a unique opportunity to improve the content and design of their applications for free or reduced-price school meals to make it easier for eligible low-income parents to enroll their children. Every school district in the country will have to revise its application for the 2011-2012 school year to reflect recent legislation reauthorizing the federal school meals programs. By going beyond the required changes, state and districts can make their applications more user-friendly and more likely to elicit accurate information.
We’ve updated our report showing that the bulk of cuts in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget would come in programs for lower-income Americans to reflect the changes he made to the budget before it went to the House floor.
Last week, we debunked House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s false claim that the SNAP program, formerly called food stamps, is growing out of control. We’ve just issued a report showing that the enormous SNAP cuts he is proposing — $127 billion over ten years, almost 20 percent of the entire program — could throw millions of low-income families off the rolls, cut benefits by thousands of dollars a year, or both. (The report includes state-by-state estimates of the potential impact.)
We explained recently that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget gets the lion’s share of its savings by cutting programs that help low- and moderate-income Americans. The adverse human and social consequences of such an approach are the paramount concern. But these cuts would also make the economy more vulnerable to shocks by weakening the “automatic stabilizers” — increases in federal spending (and reductions in federal taxes) that occur automatically when the economy weakens — that reduce the severity of economic downturns.
Bob Greenstein discusses the ongoing federal budget debate with Lawrence O’Donnell last night on MSNBC’s "The Last Word."...