With discussion about addressing the federal deficit in Washington this week, we focused primarily on this topic in Off the Charts:
Jim Horney took a step back to explain the long-term deficit problem and why it matters, and highlighted some noteworthy remarks from former Congressional Budget Office director (and Center board member) Robert Reischauer at the President’s fiscal commission. The Center’s executive director, Robert Greenstein, participated in the Peterson Foundation’s national fiscal summit. We posted a portion of his remarks, which highlighted the need to keep tax expenditures — in addition to spending cuts — in mind when crafting solutions.
Chuck Marr expanded on this point in another post, arguing that an addiction to tax cuts is a significant part of the deficit problem. He also debunked a claim in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial about dividend tax rates and the middle class.
We also took a look at two implications of health reform, the sharp rise in homelessness, and some troubling tax trends at the state level:
Judy Solomon explained that private insurance has been unsustainable for many middle-income families; in about one in four middle-income families with private coverage, a family member lost that coverage at some point between 2004 and 2007. Health reform will help address this issue. We also sat down with Jim Horney for the fourth Q & A in our series on health reform and the deficit and discussed the Medicare “doctor fix.”
An increasing number of families face the prospect of homelessness due to the recession. Douglas Rice highlighted the benefits of the housing voucher program for homelessness, the economy, and the housing market.
At the state level, Nicholas Johnson pointed (here and here) to some tax policies that are hurting working-poor families.
In other news, the Center released reports on a harmful tax and spending limit proposal in Florida, why health reform is a good deal for states, the trend of states scaling back tax credits for low-income families, and the impact of state income taxes on low-income families.