As expected, President Obama’s FY 14 budget includes a proposal to use the “chained Consumer Price Index” – a slower-growing measure of inflation that would cut Social Security benefits by reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments. This is not just a technical change – but a benefit cut that would cause real hardship to the elderly and the poor. The President’s budget recognizes this threat and proposes some protections for vulnerable beneficiaries from the chained CPI – but NWLC analysis shows that this strategy is not adequate.
The budget proposes a bump-up in benefits for long-term beneficiaries, who would experience the worst cuts because the cuts grow deeper every year. In addition, the budget would not apply the chained CPI to needs-based benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income, or use it to determine eligibility for programs like SNAP (Food Stamps).
NWLC’s analysis finds that the small and gradual benefit increases from the bump-ups wouldn’t restore the monthly benefit of the typical single elderly woman to current-law levels—unless she lives to 104. Read more »
Did you see the first video from NWLC and the National Priorities Project explaining why budget and tax issues are women’s issues? No? Then stop what you’re doing and watch it here.
Now that you’ve seen it, you’re eager for more, right? Well, my friend, you’re in luck. In Part 2, you’ll learn how Congress can protect programs that serve women and families by requiring the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Watch the second video now:
After a couple of weeks of intense debate over budget plans proposed in the House and Senate, you may feel that this week’s Congressional recess is a welcome break from talk of taxes and spending, deficits and debt. But Congress is back in session April 8 – and the budget battles will return, too.
I’m not sure whether it counts as good news to report that Congress carried out one of its most basic responsibilities today by ensuring that the government will continue to function for the rest of FY 2013 — but it’s certainly better than reporting a government shutdown beginning next week.
Once upon a time (last year), I taught 4th grade at a Title I school in rural Louisiana. We went to school Tuesday through Friday. Yes, that’s right – only 4 DAYS A WEEK. In 2006 the underfunded and low performing school district desperately needed to find a way to save money, so the school board had to cut out Mondays.
Last week Paul Ryan released his budget and guess what - in FY13 it CUTS $15.8 million in funding from Title I schools (schools where over 75% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch) in Louisiana alone! In FY14 it adds a whopping $54.9 million in additional cuts to Louisiana schools. By the end of 2014, under Ryan’s plan, over 4 million of the most vulnerable children across the country would lose access to education services.
You may have heard that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his FY 2014 budget plan this week – and that it is bad news for women and families. Like Chairman Ryan’s previous budget plans, the latest version would make deep cuts to programs that women and their families depend on while giving lavish tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
The good news is that Chairman Ryan’s budget is not the only plan circulating on Capitol Hill this week. Yesterday afternoon, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) released her own budget blueprint for FY 2014. In stark contrast to the Ryan budget, the Murray budget proposes new investments in early childhood programs, largely protects core safety net programs (although it includes some cuts to funding for health care programs that could be worrisome), and advances tax fairness. For example, Chairman Murray’s budget:
Supports key investments in our future. The Murray budget calls for new investments to expand access to pre-K, child care, Head Start, Early Head Start and home visiting services for parents with young children, helping more children prepare to succeed in school while giving more parents the support they need to work. The budget also invests in measures to speed up the economic recovery, including a $100 billion fund to support job training and infrastructure projects that would create new jobs and strengthen the economy.
Protects critical supports for vulnerable families and individuals. Chairman Murray’s budget protects Social Security and most core safety net programs, which are particularly important to women because they face a greater risk of poverty than men at all stages of their lives. The budget also permanently extends improvements to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit that lift millions of women and children out of poverty each year. And it secures funding to fully implement the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that women will have greater access to affordable health insurance and preventive care services.
Today House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his vision for the next ten years. Despite having a section entitled "Fairness Restored," Ryan’s budget does anything but put forward a fair and equitable plan.
Repeal the Affordable Care Act, eliminating the Medicaid expansions critical for low-income families, tax credits to help moderate-income families purchase health insurance, help with the cost of prescription drugs in Medicare and preventive health care services (including contraceptive services), and protections against discriminatory insurance company practices.
Yesterday, Senate Democrats proposed a plan to postpone across-the-board spending cuts — known inside the beltway as the “sequester” — that are currently scheduled to take effect in just two weeks, on March 1. The bill, called the American Family Economic Protection Act, includes $120 billion of savings — enough to replace the sequester through the end of calendar year 2013.
Unlike the sequester, which reduces the deficit solely through deep spending cuts (on top of earlier spending cuts that are 2.5 times greater than new revenues), the American Family Economic Protection Act achieves savings from an equal amount of revenues and cuts (plus about $10 billion in interest savings). The bill would raise $54 billion over 10 years by adopting the “Buffett rule,” a measure that would ensure very wealthy taxpayers cannot get away with paying taxes at a lower effective rate than middle class families. Those with incomes above $1 million (after subtracting charitable contributions) would be required to pay at least a 30 percent tax rate, with a phase-in for incomes between $1 million and $2 million. An additional $1 billion in revenue would be raised by eliminating an oil industry tax loophole and a tax deduction for businesses that ship jobs overseas.
On the spending side, savings in the bill would come mostly from modest reductions in the overall level of defense spending — which would not begin until FY 2015, when the war in Afghanistan is expected to end – and cuts in agriculture subsidies, especially direct payments to farmers that are currently provided regardless of yields, prices, or farm income.
All in all, this sounds like a reasonable proposal to us — especially compared to the sequester, which would be devastating for many programs that women and their families depend on. Read more »
On Tuesday, President Obama laid out an important economic agenda for women and families in his State of the Union address — expanding early education opportunities, advancing fair tax and budget policies, increasing the federal minimum wage, and passing both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
This is a full and impressive agenda for President Obama's second term. But we're up for the challenge and we hope you are, too!
Expanding Early Education Opportunities — President Obama's early childhood initiative would expand access to critical early learning opportunities for millions of preschool age and young children across the country. This would help many low- and middle-income women and their families who are struggling to afford the early learning opportunities that put their children on a path to success.
Advancing Fair Tax and Budget Policies — President Obama called on Congress to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. This is especially important to women, because millions of hard-working women are struggling to lift their families out of poverty and cuts in funding for public services have cost women hundreds of thousands of jobs. We also need a tax system that fairly raises the revenue required to make these wise investments and stave off deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs women and their families count on.
That was the question that rang out for months from policy makers, journalists, and concerned onlookers everywhere. And in the first few days of January, the American Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law, resolving several of the tax and budget issues known as the “fiscal cliff.” Among other things, it requires the very wealthiest to pay a fairer share of taxes, extends tax credits that benefit hardworking families for five years, extends unemployment insurance benefits for a year, and delays across-the-board spending cuts for two months.
However, another series of fiscal showdowns are looming. Read more »