This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget, federal taxes, state budgets, health reform, and food assistance.
On the federal budget, Richard Kogan cautioned that adopting so-called “fair-value accounting” for federal loan and loan guarantee programs would make these programs appear to cost more than the federal government is expected to spend on them.
On federal taxes, in the run-up to Tax Day, we launched a “Thinking About Tax Policy” series in which Chuck Marr highlighted the need for additional revenue to help control long-term deficits, showed that taxes are low both historically and compared to other countries, outlined evidence that efforts to raise more revenue should start at the top of the income scale, and explained why House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s tax proposals would be a costly step in the wrong direction.
Chuck also noted that the Ryan budget plan would raise taxes on low-income Americans and cut programs that help them, and we clarified some common misconceptions about who pays taxes.
On state budgets, Michael Leachman cited new reports showing that states spend billions of dollars each year on business tax breaks without knowing if they are worth the cost.
On health reform, Paul Van de Water debunked the claim that the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimate for the health reform law “double-counts” a considerable portion of the law’s Medicare savings.
On food assistance, we highlighted our new chartbook on the accomplishments of SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps).