This week on Off the Charts, we discussed Congress’ deficit-reduction “supercommittee,” the proposed constitutional balanced budget amendment, the economy, federal taxes, state budgets, and health reform.
- On the supercommittee, Jim Horney explained why doing nothing would reduce deficits by $7.1 trillion over the next decade. Paul Van de Water noted that the automatic cuts to non-defense discretionary spending that will occur if the committee doesn’t agree on a plan could be less severe than the cuts that the committee is considering. Kathy Ruffing pointed out that most previous deficit-reduction packages have contained significant revenue increases. And we featured two papers — one on the “Toomey proposal” to reduce deficits and one on a Democratic proposal issued in response to it.
- On the balanced budget amendment, Robert Greenstein explained why a common comparison between a family budget and the federal budget is false. We also highlighted two new papers on the budget cuts and economic problems that a constitutional balanced budget amendment would entail, as well as a video of Jared Bernstein and Jim Horney discussing the perils of a balanced budget amendment.
- On the economy, we featured Chad Stone’s testimony before the congressional Joint Economic Committee on why tax reform is unlikely to boost business investment and job creation.
- On federal taxes, Chuck Marr explained why a flat tax wouldn’t make the tax code simpler, just more regressive. He also highlighted recent Congressional Budget Office data ranking a tax repatriation holiday last out of a number of job-creation proposals.
- On state budgets, Phil Oliff explained that states’ progress in reducing income taxes on working-poor families stalled in 2010 and noted that a few states have even raised taxes on these families. Michael Mazerov discussed legislation that would help states collect sales taxes owed on Internet purchases.
- On health reform, Judy Solomon rebutted the claim that under the Affordable Care Act, residents of states that don’t establish a health insurance exchange won’t qualify for help buying coverage.
In other news, we released Chad Stone’s testimony on whether tax reform could boost the economy. We also released reports on the recent offers from Republicans and Democrats on the supercommittee, program cuts under a balanced budget amendment and the economic damage that such an amendment could cause, the composition of past deficit-reduction packages, and the impact of state income taxes on low-income families in 2010.