This week on Off the Charts, we focused on income inequality, the federal budget and taxes, state budgets and taxes, the economy, health reform, housing policy, and safety net programs.
On income inequality, Liz McNichol highlighted a major new analysis by CBPP and the Economic Policy Institute that finds income inequality has grown in all parts of the country. She also pointed to the report’s infographics for all 50 states and listed three main causes of rising inequality.
On the federal budget and taxes, Chye-Ching Huang rebutted claims that letting President Bush’s high-end tax cuts expire would seriously harm the economy and showed that extending them would be a poor way to support the recovery. Chuck Marr pointed to former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin’s argument for returning to the Clinton-era top tax rates and explained why extending the Bush “middle-class” tax cuts would benefit the wealthy, too. Richard Kogan corrected the misconception that President Obama is calling for more new revenue as part of deficit reduction than the Bowles-Simpson commission.
On state budgets and taxes, Michael Leachman explained why a deficit-reduction package that lacks significant revenue could be even more harmful to states than the automatic “sequestration” cuts scheduled to start in January.
On the economy, Kathy Ruffing described how the aging of the baby boom generation has contributed to the recent drop in labor force participation.
On health reform, January Angeles noted a recent analysis finding that adopting health reform’s Medicaid expansion to cover all low-income adults would save Idaho money.
On housing policy, Barbara Sard highlighted our new report on how policymakers can make federal rental assistance programs more efficient without hurting low-income families.
On safety net programs, Arloc Sherman discussed new Census data showing that these programs kept millions of Americans out of poverty in 2011.
In other news, we released a state-by-state examination of income inequality with an accompanying press release and audio of our conference call briefing on the findings. We also released a paper on how policymakers can reduce administrative burdens for the agencies that operate the public housing and voucher programs, and updated our backgrounder on the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available in each state.