This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, the economy, unemployment insurance (UI), state budgets and taxes, and health policy.
On the federal budget and taxes, we released Robert Greenstein’s statement on the President’s 2013 budget and highlighted our report explaining why one provision in it could lead to bigger cuts in domestic programs and smaller ones in defense programs than those already scheduled.
Greenstein also showed that Senator Pat Toomey’s tax plan would raise taxes on people making under $200,000, despite his claim to the contrary.
We updated our analysis of Governor Mitt Romney’s budget proposals, showing that they would require massive cuts in nondefense programs.
Richard Kogan explained why discussions of deficit reduction need to take into account the steps that policymakers have already taken in this area.
On the economy, Chad Stone noted that, while harsh fiscal austerity in the United Kingdom stunted growth, stimulus measures in the United States helped stabilize the economy.
On UI, Chad Stone warned that failure to extend the federal emergency UI program would hurt jobless workers and the economy.
Hannah Shaw explained that negotiations over continuing the program were the wrong venue for major UI reforms and showed why the resulting agreement was a good deal for the unemployed.
On state budgets and taxes, Phil Oliff noted that some governors’ proposals to raise education funding would still leave funding levels well below pre-recession levels, while Michael Leachman pointed out that scheduled cuts in federal education funding will add to schools’ troubles.
Leachman also listed six reasons why requiring a supermajority vote to raise taxes is a bad idea, and Oliff praised a Maryland proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to help offset the impact of regressive tax increases.
Erica Williams cited a new Kansas proposal as evidence that cutting taxes at all costs threatens to weaken a state’s economy.
Michael Mazerov pointed out the benefits of broadening state sales taxes to cover more services.
On health policy, Paul Van de Water discounted arguments for repealing the Affordable Care Act’s excise tax on medical devices like surgical gloves and wheelchairs.