This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, health reform, the safety net, housing, and the economy.
On the federal budget and taxes, Chuck Marr highlighted a draft corporate tax reform proposal from Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus and pointed out that another Baucus proposal wisely avoids timing gimmicks and targets inefficient subsidies. Richard Kogan described how the federal student loan program is a good deal for both students and the government. Joel Friedman explained why replacing sequestration with equivalent ten-year savings makes sense.
On health reform, Jesse Cross-Call noted that states can reduce the rate of children without health insurance by expanding Medicaid. Sarah Lueck explained why the Administration’s approach to health policy cancellations is preferable to Senate and House proposals.
On the safety net, Dottie Rosenbaum showed that SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) spending has started falling as a share of the economy and is projected to fall further. Danilo Trisi reiterated that SNAP keeps more households with children out of extreme poverty than any other government program. Robert Greenstein argued that Congress must not break its 40-year commitment that has ensured that foods provided by the WIC program reflect the best advice of nutrition scientists. Chad Stone noted that more than a million Americans will lose jobless benefits at the end of the year without congressional action.
On housing, Will Fischer highlighted new data showing that homelessness among veterans has fallen — but affordable housing remains out of reach for many.
On the economy, Chad Stone explained that federal stimulus achieved far more than critics admit and that Republican obstructionism has hampered further progress.