This week on Off the Charts, we talked about the federal budget, taxes and the economy, poverty and government programs, and housing policy.
On the federal budget, James Horney noted that the President’s deficit reduction plan would stabilize the federal debt as a share of the economy in the second half of this decade, while Richard Kogan explained that the President’s proposal to save $1 trillion by capping funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is sound.
On taxes and the economy, Chuck Marr presented data on effective income and payroll tax rates by Americans of different income classes to make the case for the President’s proposed “Buffet Rule” – that those making more than $1 million a year should not pay lower rates than middle-income families.
On poverty and government programs, Arloc Sherman notedthat deep poverty rose by a statistically significant amount in 40 states (including the District of Columbia) from 2007 to 2010, while falling in none. Matt Broaddus noted that public health programs like Medicaid have kept millions of people from becoming uninsured as job-based coverage has continued to decline. Zoë Neuberger warned that pending legislation may not provide enough funds to fulfill the federal government’s longstanding policy of ensuring that the WIC nutrition program can serve all eligible low-income pregnant women, infants, and young children who apply.
On housing policy, Will Fischer recognized a Senate committee’s efforts to restore nearly half of the $1.4 billion that a House subcommittee bill would cut from federal housing programs, but he said the Senate measure nevertheless would underfund public housing.
In other news, James Horney issued a statement on the President’s budget package. Iris J. Lav detailed how a “pay-as-you-go” policy would help control state budgets while preserving flexibility. Will Fischer reported that reduced funding for public housing will impair low-income families and raise future federal expenses. Zoë Neuberger released a report on possible cuts to the WIC nutrition program. Finally, we updated our backgrounder on state unemployment insurance programs.