Earlier this week Dean Baker threw some cold water on the tax cut/unemployment insurance deal President Obama recently signed. While he’s right that most of the aggregate demand the deal will generate represents a continuation of current policy, not an injection of new stimulus, most economic forecasts had assumed until last week that Congress wouldn’t continue significant portions of current policy into 2011.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The Wall Street Journal’s determination to use any available shred of evidence to argue that state tax increases send people fleeing to other states reminds me of the old expression that to someone with a hammer, the whole world is a nail.
In recent weeks, the already weak safety net for some of our most vulnerable citizens became substantially weaker. For the first time since 1996 when President Clinton and Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant as part of welfare reform, no additional TANF funds are available from the federal government to help states respond to the large increases in the number of impoverished families as a result of a recession. We’ve just issued an analysis on the topic.
The child nutrition bill that President Obama signed this morning includes an important new option that will allow thousands of schools in high-poverty areas to focus on feeding children rather than processing paperwork. This is a terrific opportunity for states to serve more low-income children through the school meals program.
Last night, the Senate released legislative language for the tax cut-unemployment insurance compromise negotiated between President Obama and Congressional Republicans. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released an official cost estimate for the revenue portions of the bill shortly thereafter. These graphs illustrate the various components of the legislation and their costs; click here for details.
The provisions of the new deal on tax cuts and unemployment insurance that would give a huge windfall to the heirs of the nation’s wealthiest estates cannot be justified on the grounds of either economic growth or fiscal responsibility.
The Center’s executive director, Robert Greenstein, has issued a statement on the deal announced yesterday between President Obama and Republican leaders:
Chief Economist Chad Stone weighed in on the New York Times’ “Room for Debate” forum, which features commentary from policy experts on a variety of pressing issues. The topic was “The Income Gap and Deficit Reduction,” and Stone explained that deficit reduction is essential but should be designed in a way that does not worsen income inequality.
As we think about what we have to be thankful for this holiday season, it’s important to remember that millions of Americans are having trouble affording basic necessities. Below are the most current figures available in five important areas.