This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, the economy, state budgets, health reform, the safety net, and housing.
On the federal budget and taxes, we explained that raising the income limit for extending President Bush’s income tax cuts from $250,000 to $1 million would cost $366 billion. We also clarified that that revenue loss figure comes from the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official scorekeeper on tax legislation.
On the economy, Chad Stone noted that the May employment report shows that the labor market remains far below full strength, and Jared Bernstein and Hannah Shaw discussed the month’s jobs numbers in a video. Hannah also pointed out that federal unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed continue to wind down, with payments through the Extended Benefits program ending in two more states, plus Washington, D.C., in June.
On state budgets, Michael Leachman highlighted our updated report showing that the 2009 Recovery Act is continuing to save jobs and protect the economy from what would have been a much deeper recession. Michael Mazerov also warned that the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act, which Congress is expected to consider soon, would undermine state and local tax collections.
On health reform, Paul Van de Water explained why the tax on medical devices and the limits on flexible spending accounts to buy over-the-counter medicines represent sound policy and should not be repealed.
On the safety net, Arloc Sherman pointed to evidence that the 2009 Recovery Act has been remarkably effective at keeping people out of poverty, and we highlighted two of our papers that round up online resources for the main state-administered low-income benefit programs.
On housing, Barbara Sard weighed in — as part of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Policy Forum — on how evidence identified through more than 20 years of research could be applied to federal housing policy.