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BEYOND THE NUMBERS

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CBPP

This week on Off the Charts, we discussed the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA), the federal budget and taxes, the economy, state budgets, and housing.
  • On the Senate Balanced Budget Amendment, Richard Kogan outlined the problematic program cuts that would result from the federal spending cap mandated by the BBA. Kogan also cautioned that in case of war, the Senate BBA would prevent the government from covering war costs through tax increases without a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.  Chye-Ching Huang demonstrated that, contrary to some BBA proponents’ claims, balanced budget requirements in European countries are nowhere near as extreme as those in the proposal before the Senate.
  • On the federal budget and taxes, we featured part of our report explaining how the across-the-board cuts in the Budget Control Act will work.  Jim Horney pointed out that the savings under a Senate Republican proposal to freeze federal employee pay would actually come from further large cuts in discretionary programs. Chuck Marr also explained why House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s push to attach a corporate tax holiday to the bill to extend the payroll tax cut is a bad idea.
  • On the economy, Chad Stone warned that House Republicans’ proposal to slash unemployment insurance (UI) funding would hurt unemployed workers and hinder economic recovery.
  • On state budgets, Nicholas Johnson discussed why more state policymakers are considering tax increases on their wealthiest residents.
  • On housing, Barbara Sard pointed to our report demonstrating that the large majority of housing voucher recipients that are able to work do so, in response to some policymakers’ recent calls to increase self-sufficiency among recipients of housing assistance.
In other news, we released reports on the Senate BBA’s extreme budget cuts and on its severity by international standards, and on the demographic makeup and labor force attachment of housing voucher recipients.