This week at CBPP, we focused on the economy, state budgets and taxes, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), health, and Social Security.
On the economy, Robert Greenstein highlighted a major new paper by Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi for CBPP’s Policy Futures initiative showing that the policy responses to the financial crisis and Great Recession were a resounding success.
On state budgets and taxes, Liz McNichol, Iris Lav, and Michael Leachman laid out how states can build healthier economies by adopting better budget planning. McNichol, Lav, and Kathleen Masterson described how better cost estimates for spending- and tax-related proposals would help states make more informed decisions. Michael Leachman reiterated that tax rates aren’t the key to state economic growth.
On TANF, Liz Schott, LaDonna Pavetti, and Ife Floyd examined how states use federal and state TANF funds. Floyd pointed to a new report from her and Schott showing that TANF cash assistance benefits continue to erode in most states.
On health, Paul Van de Water explained that health reform’s excise tax on high-cost health plans will initially affect only a tiny share of workers and an even tinier share of health plan costs. David Reich debunked arguments for eliminating health reform’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. Jesse Cross-Call pointed out that state Medicaid spending continues to grow more slowly in states that have expanded Medicaid under health reform. Edwin Park noted that raising Medicare Advantage payments is an inefficient way to help Puerto Rico.
On Social Security, Kathleen Romig explained why the maximum wage on which workers and their employers pay Social Security taxes should rise with wages, even in years without a cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits.