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Category Archives: Poverty

Cmte. for a Responsible Federal Budget challenges Trump’s huge spending cuts

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas said the following:

“President Trump’s first full budget was previewed tonight. [America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again] The budget calls for $3.6 trillion of spending reductions and reforms over the next decade. The White House Office of Management and Budget estimates that under the President’s budget debt would decline from 77 percent of GDP today to below 60 percent by 2027, and deficits would disappear in that year. However, the budget relies on a number of very rosy assumptions….While we appreciate the Administration’s focus on reducing the debt, when using more realistic assumptions, the President’s budget does not add up. The budget balances on paper – and having a specific fiscal goal is an important first step. But it only achieves that goal by relying on incredibly rosy economic growth assumptions along with very aggressive and unrealistic future cuts while omitting a potentially extremely costly tax reform plan. If the Administration is serious about meeting the nation’s fiscal challenges, it will need to focus on structural reforms to our nation’s largest spending programs along with new revenue to finance them. Relying on heroic assumptions and vague promises instead of confronting tough policy choices will not fix our country’s fiscal woes….But to make the numbers work, the budget assumes 3 percent economic growth, which is unlikely to occur even in the best of circumstances. The budget also uses the entirety of the dynamic revenue from growth to pay down the debt – a move that we support but that is inconsistent with their past statements that economic growth would help pay for tax reform. The same money cannot be used twice. Furthermore, while the budget does put forward many serious and specific spending cuts, it also assumes some areas of spending – particularly non-defense discretionary spending – get to unrealistically low levels by the end of the decade. At the same time, too much of the pressure for cuts falls on too small a sliver of the budget. The President does not address two of our largest and fastest-growing programs – Medicare and Social Security old-age insurance. Promising to ‘protect’ these programs will ultimately hurt those who depend on these programs the most since reforms are needed to ensure solvency and sustainability. We hope that Congress and the President work together to build on the budget’s best policies and replace its gimmicks with thoughtful reforms to Social Security, Medicare, and the tax code. We need a full plan to fix the debt, not just wishes it away.”

See also the Washington Post –  How Trump’s budget helps the rich at the expense of the poor,” by Max Ehrenfreund: “Trump announced a tax overhaul that would reduce or eliminate trillions of dollars in taxes that are paid primarily by the wealthy, including the estate tax and the marginal rate on ordinary income paid by the richest taxpayers. He would lessen spending on Medicaid, the federal program that provides health insurance to the poor, by $1.4 trillion over a decade, and he would allow states to impose strict limits on other major anti-poverty benefits such as food stamps. “The budget also called for repealing President Obama’s health-care reform, which helped cover poor and middle-class households with funds raised in part through greater taxes on the rich. Republicans argue that Obama’s emphasis on the differences between rich and poor was misguided, and that policymakers should instead try to improve the fortunes of Americans across the board.”

See also TIME: President Trump’s Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Mistake – “President Trump’s budget includes simple accounting error that adds up to a $2 trillion oversight. Under the proposed budget released Tuesday, the Trump Administration’s proposed tax cuts would boost economic growth enough to pay for $1.3 trillion in spending by 2027. But the tax cuts are also supposed to be revenue-neutral, meaning that trillion dollars is already supposed to pay for the money lost from the tax cuts…”

The Emoji States of America – a new way to present government data

I admit to not being and emjoi aficionado, so to make up for this apparent deficit, I offer you The Emoji States of America – via Axios Visuals Editor Lazaro Gamio: “This visualization is a modified version of Chernoff Faces, a technique that maps multiple statistical values to the features of a face. Because it’s… Continue Reading

Food waste: the problem in the EU in numbers – Infographic

European Parliament – “Some 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU every year, equivalent to 173 kilos per person. Not only is this a waste or resources, it also contributes to climate change. Parliament is working on new measures to cut food waste in the EU by 50%. Check out our infographic… Continue Reading

CDC – African American Health: Creating Equal Opportunities for Health

Cunningham TJ, Croft JB, Liu Y, Lu H, Eke PI, Giles WH. Vital Signs: Racial Disparities in Age-Specific Mortality Among Blacks or African Americans — United States, 1999–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 2 May 2017. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6617e1. “The death rate for African Americans dropped 25% from 1999-2015, but they are still more likely… Continue Reading

Companies Stashing the Most Money Overseas

24/7 Wall St – “The U.S. economic system encourages cost-cutting at every stage of business. While taxes are a yearly expense for small businesses, working families, and individuals, large U.S. companies avoid billions in taxes each year on cash held in offshore bank accounts. The current level of global wealth inequality, which is widely expected… Continue Reading

2017 Index of Global Economic Freedom

“For much of human history, most individuals have lacked economic freedom and opportunity, condemning them to poverty and deprivation. Today, we live in the most prosperous time in human history. Poverty, sicknesses, and ignorance are receding throughout the world, due in large part to the advance of economic freedom. In 2017, the principles of economic… Continue Reading

Bank Accounts for the Unbanked: Evidence from a Big Bang Experiment

Chopra, Yakshup and Prabhala, Nagpurnanand and Tantri, Prasanna L., Bank Accounts for the Unbanked: Evidence from a Big Bang Experiment (February 12, 2017).  Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919091 “Over 2.5 billion individuals around the world are unbanked. How they can be brought into the formal financial system is a question of policy and academic interest. We… Continue Reading

Defending the Indefensible: Chairman Pai’s Lifeline Reversal Will Widen the Digital Divide

Follow up to previous posting – FCC Chairman rescinds policies and rulemaking to expand Internet service to low income households – Submitted by Benton Foundation on behalf of Gigi Sohn on February 9, 2017: “To my great surprise and delight, the recent move by the Federal Communications Commission’s new majority to revoke the designations of… Continue Reading

Research – Basic Facts about Low-Income Children in America

National Center for Children in Poverty Report January 2017 – “Among all children under 18 years in the U.S., 43 percent live in low-income families and 21 percent—approximately one in five—lives in a poor family. This means that children are overrepresented among our nation’s poor; they represent 23 percent of the population but comprise 33… Continue Reading

CRS – Social Security: The Lump – Sum Death Benefit

Via FAS – CRS report – Social Security: The Lump-Sum Death Benefit, Wayne Liou Analyst in Social Policy. February 2, 2017. “When a worker who is insured by Social Security and living with a spouse dies, the spouse is entitled to a lump-sum death benefit of $255. If there is no such spouse, the payment… Continue Reading

FCC Chairman rescinds policies and rulemaking to expand Internet service to low income households

“Last Friday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai rescinded close to a dozen policies of the FCC, including rulemakings on expanding the program providing Internet service to low income households, rulings on several TV stations’ violations of political file rules and further restricting TV shared services and joint sales agreements. Chairman Pai also announced the… Continue Reading

Changes in Family Wealth, 1989 to 2013

Changes in Family Wealth, 1989 to 2013 – January 18, 2017 Presentation by Nadia Karamcheva, an analyst in CBO’s Microeconomic Studies Division, to the Savings and Retirement Foundation in Washington, D.C. “From 1989 to 2013, family wealth grew at significantly different rates for different segments of the U.S. population, and the distribution among the nation’s families… Continue Reading