This week on Off the Charts, we focused on poverty and the safety net, health policy, Social Security, WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), and state budget and tax issues.
On poverty and the safety net, Arloc Sherman laid out some near-term and longer-term approaches to reducing poverty. Chad Stone pointed out that federal unemployment insurance benefits are continuing to wind down despite continued high unemployment. Liz Schott showed that states’ spending record under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program shows the danger of block-granting the safety net. She also noted the wide variation in state spending patterns under TANF.
On health policy, Paul Van de Water highlighted new estimates that Medicare and Medicaid costs per beneficiary will grow much more slowly than private insurance over the next decade.
On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing discussed why the Social Security Disability Insurance program has grown in recent years and how policymakers should address the coming depletion of its trust fund.
On WIC, Zoë Neuberger explained that Congress should uphold its long-standing commitment to ensuring that the foods that the program provides reflect recommendations from nutrition scientists, not lobbyists.
On state budget and tax issues, Michael Mazerov made the case for allowing states to require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes. Michael Leachman explained why a deficit-reduction plan that lacks significant revenues would almost certainly deeply cut federal funding for states and localities, using the House-passed Ryan budget as an example.