This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, unemployment insurance, the economy, health care, and state budgets and taxes.
On the War on Poverty at 50, Arloc Sherman explained how the safety net kept 41 million people out of poverty in 2012 under the federal government’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. He also detailed how the safety net has become increasingly effective at lifting children out of poverty and illustrated its long-term positive effects. Sharon Parrott pointed to a commentary explaining the progress we’ve made in fighting poverty, the success of the safety net, and the factors that have kept poverty from falling further. She also responded to Sen. Marco Rubio’s proposal to block-grant safety net programs and warned that Sen. Rubio’s wage supplement proposal likely would come at the expense of low-income working families with children.
On unemployment insurance (UI), Chad Stone laid out four key points that justify restoring federal emergency unemployment benefits. Paul Van de Water explained that Sen. Harry Reid’s proposal to curtail the joint receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance and unemployment insurance to help pay for extending federal UI benefits is a step forward in the effort to continue vital benefits for the long-term unemployed.
On the economy, Chad Stone cautioned that December’s surprisingly disappointing jobs report should temper recent optimism of an improving labor market in 2014, and we pointed to our new report that explains how a stronger minimum wage would help low-wage workers while having little impact on employment.
On health care, Paul Van de Water noted that health spending growth in 2012 remained low for the fourth consecutive year, continuing a slowdown that has already contributed to a marked improvement in the federal budget outlook. Edwin Park argued that policymakers shouldn’t let key low-income health provisions expire.
On state budgets and taxes, Michael Mazerov explained why Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed business tax cuts are not the ticket to growth for New York. Chris Mai illustrated how the loss of 15,000 jobs from local school districts in December shows that the recession is far from over for the nation’s schools.