The headline story in today’s Census Bureau report is the large jump in the poverty rate in 2009. But an exclusive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of the new survey data shows that unemployment insurance benefits — which expanded substantially last year in response to the increased need — kept 3.3 million people out of poverty in 2009.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
We sat down with Arloc Sherman, Senior Researcher, to discuss what to look for in the Census Bureau’s upcoming release of data on poverty in 2009.
What do you call parents who work at very low-wage jobs to support their families — say, a single mother raising two children and working at a nursing home, or a construction laborer trying to support his wife and children? Until recently, policymakers have called them welfare-reform success stories: people who have chosen work over welfare. Now, however, there is a risk that it is becoming fashionable to call them “freeloaders” for whom the Internal Revenue is a “sugar daddy” dispensing tax benefits.
A number of 2010 gubernatorial candidates propose to reduce or eliminate their state’s corporate income tax, saying this will stimulate growth and create jobs. But, while states are understandably eager to get their economies moving again, corporate tax cuts will not likely work. Among the most important reasons why:
Here are three things to keep in mind in examining the official figures on poverty in 2009, which the Census Bureau will release on Thursday:
Since last October, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued several projections of national health spending under various versions of health reform legislation, the most recent of which came out last Thursday. Each time, health-reform critics have contended that the projections show that health reform won’t slow the growth of health care costs. And each time (see here, here, and here), we have explained why the critics are wrong. So here we go again.
The Senate will vote tomorrow on an amendment to small business legislation that would seriously weaken an essential element of the new health reform law — the requirement that individuals obtain health insurance or pay a penalty — and eliminate preventive care funding aimed at reducing the onset of chronic diseases and improving overall health.
Analysts Mark Zandi, Peter Orszag, and Howard Gleckman have all said sensible things about what would be the best policy for dealing with the expiring Bush tax cuts (which include a panoply of “middle class” tax cuts as well as cuts in marginal tax rates for the richest 2 percent of taxpayers). Unfortunately, their smart policy analysis has been lost in the headlines generated by their actual proposals, which are colored by their political judgment about what might be achievable in today’s fractious (and fractured) Congress.
Below are the answers to today’s quiz on the impact of government programs in boosting the economy and reducing hardship during the recession. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org today with your final score for the challenge and we’ll send you one of our newly-designed Center on Budget T-shirts.