off the charts
POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

In Case You Missed It...

| By CBPP
This week on Off the Charts, we focused on SNAP (formerly food stamps); new Census Bureau data on poverty, incomes, and health coverage; the federal budget and taxes; and state budgets and taxes.
  • On SNAP, we continued our series setting the record straight on the program.  Dottie Rosenbaum examined the House bill to cut SNAP and noted that the several million people it affects could include 170,000 veterans.  Robert Greenstein explained that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has misrepresented the House proposal’s severe cuts to SNAP as “work requirements,” and Stacy Dean responded to Rep. Cantor’s misleading defense of the bill.  Greenstein also critiqued a recent article that contained serious errors about the SNAP cuts.  In addition, we excerpted Dean’s recent interview on SNAP and the House bill.
  • On the Census Bureau data, Arloc Sherman previewed the poverty figures and Matt Broaddus previewed the health coverage figures.  When Census released the data, we highlighted Robert Greenstein’s statement on the findings.  Sharon Parrott pointed out that the new data show that SNAP lifted a record number of people out of poverty in 2012.  Danilo Trisi explained that the Census data show income inequality at record levels, and Kathy Ruffing added that one key measure of inequality (the “Gini Index”) provides further evidence of rising inequality.  Matt Broaddus noted that the Census figures show continued progress in insuring more Americans, notably children.  He also pointed to health reform’s impact on the Census figures and summarized other Census data released this week suggesting that health reform is boosting young adults’ coverage.
  • On the federal budget and taxes, Robert Greenstein warned that the upcoming fight over the debt limit is frighteningly different from other recent political battles.  Paul Van de Water reiterated that a proposal to pay bondholders and Social Security recipients first if there’s a prolonged standoff over raising the debt ceiling is simply default by another name.  He also examined a new Congressional Budget Office report showing that the long-term budget outlook remains challenging but has become significantly more manageable.  Joel Friedman explained that a House proposal would cut non-defense spending well below sequestration levels.
  • On state budgets and taxes, Michael Mazerov highlighted more evidence that state tax breaks won’t save jobs.
In other news, we issued statements by Robert Greenstein on passage of the House Republican SNAP bill and the Census Bureau data, and we issued a commentary by Greenstein on the misleading portrayal of severe SNAP benefit cuts as a work requirement.  In addition, we issued papers on the cuts in the House SNAP proposal, previewing the Census report on health coverage, the Census Bureau figures, the health coverage findings in the Census data, and misunderstandings surrounding funding levels under sequestration.  Finally, we updated a backgrounder on the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available in each state. A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently.  Here are some highlights: A Friendly Reminder That Defunding Obamacare Won’t Stop the Law National Journal September 18, 2013 Household Incomes Remain Flat Despite Improving Economy New York Times September 18, 2013 Our work on SNAP received particular attention this week: Who Makes Up The 16 Million Households Who Get Food Stamps? NPR, All Things Considered September 19, 2013 GOP votes to kick 4M people off food stamps MSNBC, All In with Chris Hayes September 19, 2013 Food stamp program slashed by $40 billion in House vote NBC Nightly News September 19, 2013 Food Stamp Work Requirements Not Just For Surfer Dudes In New Bill Huffington Post September 19, 2013 Food stamp rise belies economic recovery USA Today September 19, 2013