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POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

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CBPP

This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, Social Security, health reform, state budgets and taxes, the economy, and SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps).
  • On the federal budget and taxes, Richard Kogan illustrated that if sequestration remains in place, policymakers will have cut deficits by nearly $4 trillion, largely through spending cuts.  Chye-Ching Huang warned against so-called “revenue-neutral” tax reform that uses timing gimmicks to generate illusory savings.  Chuck Marr explained that a repatriation tax holiday can’t “pay for” cancelling sequestration — or anything else — because it would actually cost billions of dollars a year.  We debunked the claim that safety net programs are growing out of control and showed that, contrary to assertions that the federal government is exploding, total federal spending as a share of the economy has fallen dramatically from its 2009 peak.
  • On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing previewed the announcement of the 2014 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security and several other programs and affirmed that the COLA will be 1.5 percent.
  • On health reform, Judy Solomon clarified that health reform offers young adults an unprecedented range of choices for affordable health insurance coverage.  Matt Broaddus highlighted a new study refuting the claim that enrolling in Medicaid discourages people from working.  In the midst of confusing media reports on the issue, Sarah Lueck listed five things to keep in mind about the fact that insurance companies are discontinuing some plans they offer in the individual market.
  • On state budgets and taxes, Michael Mitchell explained that a ballot question in Colorado would improve the state’s income tax structure and dedicate new revenues to education.
  • On the economy, Chad Stone argued that reducing the jobs deficit should be the top priority and would help address longer-term budget challenges.
  • On SNAP, we highlighted Stacy Dean’s statement on benefit cuts that began to take effect on November 1.  Dottie Rosenbaum introduced an interactive map showing how many people in each state are being affected by the November 1 SNAP cuts.  Arloc Sherman warned that the November 1 cuts to SNAP would affect veterans in every state.
In other news, we issued Stacy Dean’s statement on the November 1 SNAP cuts. We issued papers on four timing gimmicks that could disguise fiscally irresponsible tax reform and the SNAP benefit cut’s impact on veterans.  We also updated papers explaining that the size and reach of the federal government are not exploding, low-income programs are not driving the nation’s long-term fiscal problem, and the impact of delaying health reform’s individual mandate.  Finally, we updated our 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: Rep. Ryan and CMS Chief Tavenner’s Exchange Muddles Subsidies For Young Adults Washington Post October 30, 2013 Nearly 1 Million Vets Face Food Stamps Cut Military.com October 29, 2013 Food stamps will get cut by $5 billion this week — and more cuts could follow Washington Post Wonkblog October 28, 2013 Billionaires’ Row and Welfare Lines New York Times October 25, 2013 Food Stamp Decrease Set For November Huffington Post October 25, 2013