This week on Off the Charts, we discussed the congressional deficit-reduction “supercommittee,” taxes and the economy, and hardship in America.
- On the supercommittee, Robert Greenstein explained why the automatic cuts scheduled to start in 2013 are split equally between defense and non-defense programs. He also noted that former OMB head Peter Orszag was right to say that locking in the Bush tax cuts was not worth a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction deal. Paul Van de Water pointed out that a proposal by supercommittee Republicans last week called for $181 in spending cuts for each $1 in tax increases.
- On taxes and the economy, Chuck Marr warned that workers’ paychecks will shrink starting in January if Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut. Hannah Shaw highlighted new Congressional Budget Office figures showing that up to 2.4 million people owe their jobs to the Recovery Act.
- On hardship in America, Arloc Sherman detailed the major hardships that many poor children face, such as hunger and failure to receive needed medical care. Liz Schott documented the erosion of cash assistance benefits for low-income families with children, while Douglas Rice highlighted the recent rise in homelessness. Stacy Dean described how SNAP (formerly food stamps) is helping millions of needy families afford an adequate diet.
Off the Charts is taking a break for the holiday but will return on Monday.