This week on Off the Charts, we focused on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget, Social Security, state budgets and taxes, health care, and deficits and debt.
On the Ryan budget, we excerpted Robert Greenstein’s statement on Chairman Ryan’s extreme budget. We also pointed to Greenstein’s commentary comparing how the Ryan budget and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray’s budget approach deficit reduction. Chad Stone described how the Ryan budget would slow the economic recovery. Joel Friedman noted that the Ryan budget would cut non-defense discretionary spending far more than the across-the-board cuts known as “sequestration.” Richard Kogan described how two-thirds of the cuts in Ryan’s plan would come from programs that serve people of limited means, and Dottie Rosenbaum explained that the Ryan budget would slash funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Edwin Park described how Ryan’s changes to Medicaid would add tens of millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured. Paul Van de Water listed three important ways that the Ryan budget would alter Medicare.
On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing explained why Congress’ failure to fund efforts to weed out improper benefit payments in Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income is shortsighted.
On state budgets and taxes, Elizabeth McNichol noted that pension plans for state and local workers have made important progress toward restored financial health without breaking state budgets.
On health care, Edwin Park debunked the myth that the Medicare drug benefit’s lower-than-expected spending reflects efficiencies produced by competition among private insurers, and he discussed the Congressional Budget Office’s reduction of projected Medicaid spending by more than $200 billion.
On deficits and debt, Arloc Sherman explained how deficit reduction that targets programs that provide support for low-income families would negatively affect individuals and the economy for decades. We also highlighted our backgrounder on deficits, debt, and interest — three important budget concepts that are often misunderstood.