This week on Off the Charts, we talked about the budget and the economy, Medicare, food assistance programs, and housing.
- On the budget and the economy, Kathy Ruffing highlighted the Congressional Budget Office’s new long-term budget outlook, which reinforces the argument that policymakers should pursue gradual deficit-reduction that does not jeopardize the economic recovery. Chad Stone explained why large, immediate spending cuts would hurt the economy. Jared Bernstein outlined policies that could help middle-class families struggling to make ends meet. He also noted that some Republicans’ support for a deficit-cutting deal that reduces tax expenditures is good news. We also showed that a proposal before budget negotiators to shrink deficits by reducing Medicaid spending would shift costs to states.
- On Medicare, Paul Van de Water corrected the misperception that higher-income people pay no more for Medicare than other people.
- On food assistance programs, Dottie Rosenbaum debunked the claim that SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) is beset by out-of-control growth and widespread waste and fraud.
- On housing, Barbara Sard supported legislation that would strengthen the housing voucher program. Will Fischer explained the need for a new approach to funding public housing repairs.
In other news, we hosted a media briefing with Peter Orszag, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, on ways to transform the U.S. health care system. We showed why a tax holiday for overseas corporate profits would fail to boost the economy and would encourage companies to shift even more jobs overseas. We revised our study of proposed cuts to the WIC nutrition program, and updated our rebuttal of claims that WIC has high administrative costs. We demonstrated how an unbalanced, spending-cut-focused approach to deficit reduction could cripple housing and community development programs. Center experts testified before Congress on policies to boost the economy, help struggling middle-class families, and improve the housing voucher program. Finally, we updated our state-by-state breakdown of how many weeks of unemployment insurance are available.