This week on Off the Charts, we talked about the debt-limit debate, a constitutional balanced budget amendment, the economy, health reform, and state budgets.
On the debt-limit debate, Robert Greenstein updated his statement on House Speaker John Boehner’s budget proposal and clarified that the plan would drop a long-standing protection for the poor. Kelsey Merrick noted the importance of maintaining Pell Grant funding in any final agreement.
On a balanced budget amendment, we explained that both versions of the amendment before the House would threaten the full faith and credit of the United States. We also updated our two papers detailing the economic problems and massive spending cuts that such a proposal could entail.
On the economy, Chad Stone explained that a budget deadlock or sharp, immediate cuts in federal spending could derail an already-weak recovery.
On health reform, Paul Van de Water highlighted congressional testimony from policy expert Timothy Jost that aims to clear up misconceptions about how the Affordable Care Act will affect employer-sponsored coverage.
On state budgets, Erica Williams showed that most states have enacted unnecessarily severe spending cuts for fiscal year 2012. Nicholas Johnson previewed our report on this issue, illustrating that most states will spend less this year than they did before the recession. And Michael Leachman noted that some states are cutting services while leaving significant “rainy day” reserve funds untapped.
In other news, Robert Greenstein testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the right approach to deficit reduction. We also updated our state-by-state breakdown of how many weeks of unemployment benefits are available.