This week on Off the Charts, we talked about state budget issues, the WIC nutrition program, welfare reform and poverty, the budget, and taxes.
On state budget issues, Phil Oliff explained that California could avoid excessive, additional cuts to core services like education and health care by adopting a balanced approach to closing its budget shortfall. Erica Williams used Washington State as an example of the “trickle-down effect” of state budget cuts.
On the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Zoë Neuberger showed that House Republicans’ proposed cuts to the nutrition program would force it to turn away 325,000 to 475,000 eligible low-income women and young children next year.
On welfare reform and poverty, LaDonna Pavetti debunked House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s claims about the success of welfare reform. Arloc Sherman showed that policymakers’ weakening of the safety net for the most vulnerable has led to a rise in severe poverty.
On the budget, Paul Van de Water explained that the Ryan plan to privatize Medicare would increase total health care spending. We also showed why Senator Toomey’s budget proposal is, in several ways, even more radical than the Ryan budget.
On taxes, Chuck Marr corrected common misconceptions about who pays taxes and showed that a new House GOP jobs proposal fails to respond to the nation’s current challenges. Paul Van de Water responded to criticism of our comparison of the long-term Social Security shortfall and the cost of President Bush’s high-end tax cuts.
In other news, we explained why letting new estate tax rules expire in 2012 is fiscally responsible. We detailed how the House budget’s tax proposals place top priority on cutting taxes for high-income people, while doing nothing to reduce budget deficits. We showed that incomes remained highly concentrated at the top in 2008, though the highest-income people took a large hit. We explained what the 2011 trustees’ report shows about Social Security’s finances. We presented a state-by-state breakdown of unemployment insurance. Finally, we updated our chart book, “The Legacy of the Great Recession.”