This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget, state budgets, unemployment, food assistance, and Social Security.
- On the federal budget, we featured Bob Greenstein’s recent commentary on reducing the deficit, as seen in a New York Times “Room for Debate.” Jim Horney answered questions about key issues facing Congress during the lame duck session, and also looked at the budget plan from the co-chairs of the President’s fiscal commission. In addition, we showed how extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would affect the national debt. And, Paul Van de Water noted that the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform’s proposal places too much blame for the nation’s fiscal problems on the budget process.
- On state budgets, Nicholas Johnson explained why the President’s proposed tax break for business investment would be expensive for states, and Bob Tannenwald discussed why states pay a high price in allocating film tax credits yet receive little in return.
- On unemployment, Chad Stone discussed why demands that Congress offset the cost of renewing federal emergency unemployment insurance benefits are hypocritical or counterproductive. Chad also pointed out that unemployment benefits are important for middle-class families as well as those near the poverty line.
- On food assistance, Dottie Rosenbaum highlighted new data showing that food stamps helped keep hunger at bay despite the recession.
- On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing demonstrated that so-called “progressive price indexing” would not be the best way to fix Social Security’s shortfall.
In other news, the Center released a podcast on key congressional issues in the lame duck session, reports on the Bowles-Simpson and Peterson-Pew debt reduction proposals as well as on state film subsidies and progressive price indexing, and held a media briefing on state film tax credits.