This week on Off the Charts, we talked about federal and state taxes, federal spending, unemployment insurance, deficits, Social Security, pensions, and state budgets.
- On taxes, Chuck Marr showed that ending tax cuts for the wealthy would contribute significantly to deficit reduction; he also analyzed how another tax holiday for corporations’ overseas profits would increase deficits and make corporations less likely to invest in the United States. Erica Williams detailed Connecticut’s enactment of an Earned Income Tax Credit and Michigan lawmakers’ effort to preserve theirs. Jon Shure debunked the idea that Americans are fleeing their place of residence to avoid higher state and local taxes.
- On federal spending, James Horney explained that the House Appropriations Committee’s proposed limits on discretionary spending for 2012 would require very severe cuts in important services.
- On unemployment insurance, Michael Leachman showed that a Republican proposal to “forward fund” federal unemployment insurance payments to the states would harm the long-term unemployed. Chad Stone demonstrated that it would also harm the economy.
- On deficits, we updated our analysis of the factors that will contribute to the large budget deficits projected for the next decade. Chad Stone showed that House Speaker Boehner ’s recent comments on deficit reduction make little economic sense.
- On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing illustrated that Social Security benefits are low in the United States compared to other advanced countries and detailed what to keep in mind when looking at the Social Security trustees’ annual report.
- On pensions, Liz McNichol outlined four little-understood points on state pension problems.
- On state budgets, Phil Oliff explained that Texas’ cuts-only approach to balancing its budget will harm residents now and in the future. Michael Leachman detailed that Connecticut has chosen a wiser course: a balanced approach of spending cuts and revenue increases.
In other news, we updated our backgrounder on unemployment insurance and released Robert Greenstein’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on a constitutional balanced budget amendment. We issued statements on the Medicare and Social Security trustees’ reports. We explained that states can promote budget accountability through tax expenditure reporting, and we detailed the steps that states can take to start fixing their pension problems. We also analyzed how major corporations are pursuing a two-pronged strategy to gut state corporate income taxes.