In Case You Missed It . . .

January 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm

This week on Off the Charts, we focused on health reform and the federal budget and taxes.

  • On health reform, Jesse Cross-Call reported that Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults remains extremely limited in states that haven’t adopted health reform’s Medicaid expansion. Matt Broaddus highlighted a study showing that people eligible for Medicaid as children earn more, and pay more in taxes, as adults.  Sarah Lueck noted that fewer people skipped needed health care because of its cost or reported trouble paying medical bills in 2014, when health reform’s major coverage expansions took effect.
  • On the federal budget and taxes, we excerpted Robert Greenstein’s statement and our analysis on the President’s capital gains tax proposals, and Greenstein affirmed that the President’s proposal to streamline tax credits for higher education would help middle-class families. Bryann DaSilva explained why permanently extending key parts of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit should be a top priority for Congress.  Chuck Marr pointed to bipartisan support in Congress for expanding the EITC for childless workers.  We also highlighted a new paper answering frequently asked questions on budget “reconciliation.”

This week, Robert Greenstein released a statement on the President’s tax proposals.   We released papers on the budget reconciliation process, the “Moving to Work” housing demonstration, and the President’s capital gains tax proposals.  We also updated our backgrounder on the Earned Income Tax Credit.

CBPP’s Chart of the Week – From Our Paper on the President’s Capital Gains Tax Proposals

A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently. Here are some highlights:

Rand Paul says “over half” of people on disability have anxiety or a bad back. Nope.
Vox
January 22, 2015

How Capital Gains Taxes Will Pay For Obama’s Middle-Class Economic Push
Wisconsin Public Radio
January 21, 2015

Obama’s Wealth Gap Tax Fix: Who Wins and Who Loses?
NBC News
January 20, 2015

Obama’s proposal to raise the capital gains tax drives sharp wedge between parties
Washington Post
January 20, 2015

White House Rolls Out Tax Proposals Before State Of The Union Address
NPR
January 19, 2015

Don’t miss any of our posts, papers, or charts — follow us on Twitter and Instagram. There’s only one week left to apply for our paid summer internship program, so apply today!

FAQs on Budget “Reconciliation”

January 22, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Republican leaders plan to use a legislative process called “reconciliation,” which allows for special and speedy congressional consideration of certain tax and spending bills, to advance their fiscal policy agenda in 2015.  In the Senate, members can’t filibuster reconciliation bills, and the scope of amendments they can offer to them is limited, giving this process real advantages for enacting controversial budget and tax measures.  Our new report addresses some frequently asked questions about reconciliation:

  • How Often Have Policymakers Used Reconciliation?
  • What Kinds of Changes Can a Reconciliation Bill Include?
  • How Does Congress Start the Reconciliation Process?
  • What Role Do Committees Play?
  • What Special Role Do the Budget Committees Play?
  • How Many Reconciliation Bills May Congress Consider Each Year?
  • Can the Full House or Senate Amend a Reconciliation Bill?
  • What Happens After Each Chamber Adopts a Reconciliation Bill?
  • What Procedural Advantages Does Reconciliation Have in the Senate?
  • What Procedural Advantages Does Reconciliation Have in the House?
  • Can Reconciliation Be Used to Increase Deficits?
  • What Is the Byrd Rule?
  • What Provisions are “Extraneous” Under the Byrd Rule?
  • How Is the Byrd Rule Enforced?

Click here for the report.

Related Posts:

Examining the President’s New Tax Proposals

January 20, 2015 at 3:09 pm

We’ve issued two pieces on the President’s new proposals, which he’ll discuss in tonight’s State of the Union address, to reduce the tax code’s tilt toward capital gains and use the new revenues to support work and help working families build skills and savings.

  • Robert Greenstein’s statement:

    In recent decades, economic growth has powerfully benefitted Wall Street, while leaving much of Main Street behind.  The plan that President Obama unveiled today would take large, important steps to help redress part of the imbalance and make prosperity more broadly shared.  The President’s new tax proposals will surely elicit howls of protest from various special interests and on ideological grounds; adversaries will make predictable claims that the proposals would harm the economy and jobs.  Yet while the proposals do present a major challenge to the status quo, they should benefit economic growth, not hinder it, while substantially helping tens of millions of middle- and lower-income working families and individuals. . . .

    Click here for the full statement.
  • Our analysis of the capital gains proposals:

    The tax code strongly favors income from capital gains — increases in the value of assets, such as stocks — over income from wages and salaries. These preferences are economically inefficient:  they promote tax schemes that convert ordinary income into capital gains and encourage people to hold assets just to escape tax, even if they have better investment opportunities.  They are also highly regressive, since capital gains are heavily concentrated at the top of the income scale.  The President has proposed to make the tax code more efficient and equitable by reducing one of the biggest subsidies for capital gains (a preferential rate compared to wage and salary income) and largely eliminating another (the ability to avoid capital gains tax completely by holding on to an asset until death).

    These changes would allow investments to flow to where they are most productive and reduce investment in creating tax avoidance schemes instead of in real economic activity, among other economic benefits.  And, because the benefits of the current preferences for capital gains flow overwhelmingly to the top, fully 99 percent of the revenue from the President’s capital gains proposals would come from the top 1 percent of filers, the Treasury Department estimates [see graph]. . . .

    Click here for the full analysis.

We’ll be live-tweeting the State of the Union this evening.  Follow along with @centeronbudget and at #cbppsotu.

In Case You Missed It . . .

January 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

This week on Off the Charts, we focused on state budgets and taxes, federal taxes, health reform, and food assistance.

  • On state budgets and taxes, Michael Leachman pointed to a new report showing that lower-income families pay a bigger share of their income in state and local taxes than wealthy families. He also listed five pieces of context for analyzing Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s new budget.  Erica Williams noted that Kansas isn’t the only state facing budget woes caused partly by large tax cuts.
  • On federal taxes, Chuck Marr described why policymakers should make strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit a top priority in 2015. Brandon DeBot explained how these working-family tax credits help families at virtually every stage of life. He also pointed out that cuts in IRS funding will harm customer service and raise deficits.
  • On health reform, Judy Solomon highlighted new studies showing that millions more Americans will be uninsured and premiums will jump if the Supreme Court disallows health reform subsidies for people getting coverage through the federal marketplace. Paul Van de Water reiterated that arguments for repealing health reform’s medical device tax are as weak as ever.
  • On food assistance, Ed Bolen summarized basic facts about the 1 million unemployed childless adults who will lose SNAP (food stamp) benefits in 2016.

This week, we published a condensed version of our paper on the impact of marginal tax rates on lower-income workers. We also issued a backgrounder on state and local borrowing and updated our backgrounders on unemployment insurance and the EITC, as well as our chart books on the legacy of the Great Recession and refundable tax credits.

 CBPP’s Chart of the Week – From Our Paper on the 1 Million People Who Will Lose SNAP Next Year

A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently. Here are some highlights:

11 myths about homelessness in America
Vox
January 15, 2015

The Push for a Constitutional Convention Is Real — and Possibly Dangerous
American Constitution Society Blog
January 15, 2015

Need Help From the I.R.S.? It May Take More Patience This Year
New York Times
January 14, 2015

Marketplace Morning Report
Marketplace
January 9, 2015

Don’t miss any of our posts, papers, or charts — follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Applications are due February 1 for our paid summer internship program, so apply today!

 

In Case You Missed It . . .

January 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Happy New Year from all of us at CBPP. We started the year at Off the Charts by focusing on health reform, Social Security, food assistance, the federal budget and taxes, and jobs.

  • On health reform, Paul Van de Water explained that raising the threshold for the employer mandate to 40 hours would place more workers at risk of having their hours cut. Robert Greenstein rebutted the claim that raising the threshold would safeguard the 40-hour work week. Judy Solomon noted that residents of 34 states with federally run health insurance marketplaces won’t have to repay their premium tax credits regardless of the outcome of a related Supreme Court case.  Matt Broaddus highlighted data showing that the uninsured rate among adults fell sharply in 2014, the first year of health reform’s major coverage expansions.
  • On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing described how a new House rule will make it harder to replenish Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund. She also explained why DI is an essential part of Social Security and listed key factors affecting disability receipt rates in different geographic areas.
  • On food assistance, Ed Bolen warned that about 1 million unemployed childless adults will lose SNAP (food stamp) benefits in 2016 as a three-month time limit for benefits returns in many states.
  • On the federal budget and taxes, we highlighted our recent report on a new House rule on “dynamic scoring,” which could ease the passage of deficit-increasing tax cuts.
  • On jobs, Chad Stone illustrated the December employment figures. Mike Leachman pointed out that local school jobs rose in December but are still far from recovered from the recession.

This week, Chad Stone issued a statement on the December jobs report. We published reports on the geographic pattern of disability receipt, the loss of SNAP benefits for 1 million unemployed childless adults, and the impact of adopting dynamic scoring for official cost estimates. We updated our papers on the federal estate tax and health reform and part-time work. We also updated our backgrounder and chart book on SNAP, our chart books on the Legacy of the Great Recession and the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, and our backgrounder on unemployment insurance.

 CBPP’s Chart of the Week — From Our Report on the Geography of Disability

A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently. Here are some highlights:

Marketplace Morning Report
Marketplace
January 9, 2015

How a better economy could mean more poor Americans go hungry
Washington Post
January 8, 2015

Do Republicans misunderstand Social Security, or just feign ignorance?
LA Times
January 7, 2015

EJ Dionne: The right’s wrong idea of governance
Washington Post
January 7, 2015

Tax Cuts Get Boost From Republican Change to U.S. House Rule
Bloomberg
January 6, 2015

Don’t miss any of our posts, papers, or charts — follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Applications are due February 1 for our paid summer internship program, so apply today!