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POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

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CBPP

This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, state budgets, the safety net, Medicare, and Social Security.
  • On the federal budget and taxes, Chuck Marr concluded our “Thinking About Tax Policy” series by outlining three good first steps to raising taxes at the top of the income scale.  In recognition of Tax Day, he also highlighted our top ten charts related to federal taxes, and we featured some CBPP reports and blog posts that take a big-picture look at the U.S. tax system.
  • On state budgets, Jon Shure rebutted a new report claiming that significant numbers of people migrate from state to state in search of lower taxes.  Liz McNichol reported that states have relied much more on spending cuts than revenue increases to close recession-induced budget gaps over the past years.  She also noted that emergency federal aid helped states close budget gaps but expired too soon.
  • On the safety net, we featured excerpts from Robert Greenstein’s House Budget Committee testimony on the safety net’s anti-poverty impact, the danger of block-granting SNAP (formerly food stamps), and welfare reform’s track record.We also showed that a House bill to cut SNAP funding would affect millions of low-income people and do more damage to economic growth and job creation than any stimulus that the House-passed small-business tax cut of this week could possibly generate.
  • On Medicare, Paul Van de Water explained how health reform has strengthened the program and outlined some further steps that policymakers can take.  He also cited his Health Affairs blog post correcting the myth that the official cost projections of health reform “double-count” its Medicare savings.
  • On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing previewed the trustees’ report on the program’s finances, due out Monday.
In other news, we released Robert Greenstein’s testimony before the House Budget Committee on strengthening the safety net, as well as reports on a House proposal that could jeopardize health reform, the House Agriculture Committee’s proposal to cut SNAP, states’ unbalanced response to recession-induced budget gaps, and how House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Medicaid block grant would have affected states if it had taken effect in 2001. We also released Chad Stone’s statement on House action regarding a small business tax cut and SNAP benefit cuts and a joint letter on improving the strength and solvency of Medicare.