In the intensifying debate over cutting federal spending, troubling proposals to block-grant Medicaid or otherwise cap its funding are getting new attention. For example, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has already discussed block-granting Medicaid with some governors.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The drop in the unemployment rate in December was welcome, but an important reason for it was people leaving the labor force rather than finding new jobs. The jobs deficit remains large and we will need much more rapid job growth than we saw in 2010 to simultaneously bring people back into the labor force and bring the unemployment rate down to acceptable levels over the next few years.
When it comes to state finances, the big story is still the old story: the recession, and the way it has continued to hurt states’ ability to keep up with rising needs.
Our analysis of data that the Census Bureau released this week shows that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was one of the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades. In 2009, the Recovery Act’s temporary expansion of the safety net kept 4.5 million people out of poverty.
Jim Horney appeared on PBS’ “The NewsHour” last night with Gwen Ifill and the Concord Coalition’s Diane Lim Rogers to discuss the new Congress and promises to cut spending.
Politico quotes incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan today as stating that the health reform law “is full of gimmicks that more than erase the false claim of deficit reduction” made by the Congressional Budget Office, which has estimated that the law will reduce the deficit by $143 billion over 2010-2019 and by some $1.3 trillion over the following decade. But the “gimmicks” he cites are nothing of the sort, as my colleague Jim Horney and I explained in a report we issued when these and similar misleading charges began surfacing nearly a year ago.
“Are House Republicans serious about dealing with the deficit? You could listen to their rhetoric — or you could read the rules they are poised to adopt at the start of the new Congress, . . . [which] suggest that the new GOP majority is determined to continue the spree of unaffordable tax-cutting,” the Washington Post’s lead editorial today explains. A report we issued just before Christmas takes a close look at the new rules:
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season. The blog will slow down over the next week, but we’ll resume posting regularly and approving comments as soon as we return in the new year.
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.