This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, the safety net, housing, state budget and taxes, and Social Security.
On the federal budget and taxes, we pointed to CBPP’s new projections on the long-term budget outlook, discussed the difficult policy choices needed to ensure long-term fiscal stability, and excerpted Robert Greenstein’s discussion of our new report in a conference call with reporters. Sharon Parrott noted that the Senate Appropriations Committee’s spending plan, which rolls back the “sequestration” budget cuts, is far preferable to the House Appropriations Committee’s approach. Robert Greenstein explained that the call from leading members of the Senate Finance Committee to initiate tax reform by eliminating all tax expenditures leaves a critical question unresolved: what will policymakers do with the proceeds from narrowing or eliminating tax expenditures? He also corrected Rep. Kevin Brady’s stunning mischaracterization of the estate tax.
On the safety net, LaDonna Pavetti showed that welfare reform was not the success that some claim. Zoë Neuberger explained why policymakers should not undo policies designed to shore up the revenue of school breakfast and lunch programs.
On housing, Douglas Rice compared the House and Senate appropriations committees’ funding bills for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Will Fischer discussed the risks of significantly expanding the “Moving to Work” deregulation initiative in low-income housing programs.
On state budgets and taxes, Nicholas Johnson reiterated that many so-called “small business” tax breaks aren’t actually targeted to small businesses.
On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing noted that recent news items on Disability Insurance often haven’t told the full story about the program.