This week on Off the Charts, we talked about balanced budget proposals, the debt limit negotiations, taxes, Medicare, and safety net programs.
- On balanced budget proposals, CBPP joined with 246 other leading national organizations to urge lawmakers to oppose a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Nicholas Johnson detailed the flaws in the argument that because nearly every state must balance its budget, the federal government should do the same.
- On the debt limit negotiations, James Horney questioned the claims that both parties had agreed to $2 trillion in spending cuts. Michael Leachman pointed out that while negotiators are considering cuts in federal Medicaid spending, states are already cutting their Medicaid programs, which will produce federal savings as well.
- On taxes, Chuck Marr explained that using a different measure of inflation to calculate annual updates in the federal tax code would not have a regressive effect. And Elizabeth McNichol highlighted the value of state income taxes in states’ recovery from the recession.
- On Medicare, Paul Van de Water refuted the claim that the program is nearing bankruptcy.
- On safety net programs, LaDonna Pavetti explained that the TANF block grant is a poor model for reform for Medicaid and other programs.
In other news, Paul Van de Water testified before Congress on the financial status of Medicare. We updated our chart book on the effects of the recession on the economy and revised our state-by-state breakdown of how many weeks of unemployment insurance are available.