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off the charts

In Case You Missed It....


This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, Social Security, and low-income housing policy.

  • On the federal budget and taxes, Chuck Marr illustrated five points worth remembering about taxes and the poor.  Chye-Ching Huang explained that extending the estate-tax cut without extending provisions that strengthened tax credits for working families would yield few wealthy winners and many moderate-income losers.  We highlighted our new report on why we should extend the payroll tax cut and emergency unemployment insurance benefits for another year, and pointed to our new Policy Basic on federal payroll taxes for some context.
  • On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing showed that Social Security lifted 21 million people out of poverty in 2011.  She also previewed the announcement of the 2013 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which affects Social Security benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans’ pensions and compensation benefits, and federal civil-service and military retirement.
  • On housing policy, Barbara Sard noted that it’s time federal housing spending gave higher priority to ensuring that families don’t end up on the street.

In other news, we released a paper on why policymakers should extend the payroll tax cut and emergency unemployment insurance for another year and the stark contrasts under proposals to extend the estate-tax cut while failing to extend improvements in tax credits for working families.  We also released a state-by-state analysis of Social Security’s vital role in reducing poverty and a backgrounder on federal payroll taxes.  Finally, we updated our backgrounder on the number of weeks of unemployment insurance benefits currently available in each state.