off the charts
POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

In Case You Missed It...

| By CBPP
This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the economy, the federal budget and taxes, the “sequestration” budget cuts, and safety net programs.
  • On the economy, Chad Stone noted that the February jobs report shows an encouraging increase in payroll employment but paints a more complicated picture of unemployment; he also outlined seven important numbers from the report.  Michael Leachman explained that the job losses in state and local government have been much bigger than experts had thought.
  • On the federal budget and taxes, Robert Greenstein described some of the disturbing aspects of last year’s budget from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan ahead of the release of his new budget next week.  We excerpted Jared Bernstein’s recent Senate Budget Committee testimony, which noted that tax expenditure reform offers a deficit-reduction solution palatable to both sides and argued that new revenues should be a part of future budget deals.  Richard Kogan listed three reasons why cancelling unused funds that Congress provided for discretionary programs in prior years isn’t a painless source of deficit savings.  Joel Friedman explained why the Senate should provide updated funding bills for as many executive departments as possible.
  • On sequestration, Richard Kogan highlighted new Office of Management and Budget calculations of the size of the cuts to different program areas.  Zoë Neuberger explained that sequestration could deny WIC nutrition support to 575,000 to 750,000 at-risk low-income women and children. We pointed to Douglas Rice’s guest post for the Open Society Foundations on how the cuts to housing programs will harm many low-income families.
  • On safety net programs, LaDonna Pavetti showed that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides basic assistance to families with little or no income, provided a weak safety net during and after the recession.
In other news, we issued Paul Van de Water’s testimony on the Affordable Care Act’s health provisions and Jared Bernstein’s testimony on tax expenditure reform.  We updated reports on sequestration’s effect on WIC and housing assistance and community development programs.  We also updated our backgrounders on the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available in each state and deficits, debt, and interest. A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently.  Here are some highlights: A Costly Catch-22 In States Forgoing Medicaid Expansion NPR March 5, 2013 Sequester likely to hurt most vulnerable, despite protections Washington Post March 4, 2013 As Automatic Budget Cuts Go Into Effect, Poor May Be Hit Particularly Hard New York Times March 3, 2013 Nationwide cuts could trouble low-income children, seniors The Philadelphia Inquirer March 1, 2013 The single best chart on the policies driving our deficits — now updated! Washington Post, Wonkblog February 28, 2013