This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, state budgets, health reform, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
On the federal budget and taxes, Chad Stone explained why the economy won’t immediately plunge into recession if the tax and spending changes required under current law actually take effect January 2. He also noted that policymakers can avoid both a recession and a long-term debt explosion. Chuck Marr showed why the most important goal of tax reform is to raise, in a progressive way, substantial new revenue for deficit reduction. Chye-Ching Huang elaborated on why extending the Bush tax cuts for households with incomes up to $1 million instead of $250,000 would be so costly.
On state budgets, Michael Leachman warned that Governor Scott Walker has taken an unbalanced approach to closing Wisconsin’s budget shortfall. Nicholas Johnson highlighted “small business” tax breaks in several states that aren’t really focused on small businesses at all. He also pointed out that the large-scale job losses in state and local governments are slowing the recovery.
On health reform, Paul Van de Water cautioned that repealing health reform’s excise tax on medical devices and its limits on the uses of flexible spending accounts would come with a high cost.
On TANF, Donna Pavetti listed four short-term improvements Congress could make in the program before it renews TANF next year.