This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the economy, the federal budget and taxes, poverty and the safety net, and housing policy.
On the economy, Chad Stone analyzed the July jobs report, explaining that the modest pickup in job creation does not reduce the need for policymakers to give the flagging recovery a boost. He also explained why a tax bill that the Senate passed last week would likely do more to boost economic growth and job creation than the much costlier tax bill that the House passed this week. Michael Leachman noted that the July jobs report shows continuing job losses in local school districts.
On the federal budget and taxes, Paul Van de Water examined how the recession, President Bush’s tax cuts, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will affect projected budget deficits for the rest of the decade. He also pointed out that many people inconsistently decry the adverse economic consequences of looming defense budget cuts while claiming that the 2009 fiscal stimulus, which included higher government spending, didn’t add jobs. Chye-Ching Huang outlined new Tax Policy Center figures on how much the Bush tax cuts have benefited people at the top. She also explained that a proposed set of requirements for tax reform could expand deficits and shift tax burdens to low- and moderate-income taxpayers.
On poverty and the safety net, Arloc Sherman showed that the poverty rate would nearly double without safety-net programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and SNAP (formerly food stamps). Liz Schott noted that Pennsylvania’s elimination of its General Assistance program for very poor childless adults reflects a disturbing national pattern.
On housing policy, we outlined Will Fischer’s Senate testimony on proposed reforms to the voucher program and other major rental assistance programs, which help more than 4 million low-income households afford decent housing.
In other news, we issued Chad Stone’s statement on the July employment report and posted Will Fischer’s Senate testimony on rental assistance programs. We released papers showing that the Bush tax cuts have provided extremely large benefits to the highest-income taxpayers and that proposed tax reform requirements would invite a shift in taxes to low- and moderate-income taxpayers. We also updated our chart book on the legacy of the Great Recession and our backgrounder on the number of weeks of unemployment insurance benefits in each state.