Welfare and the politics of poverty

Great recap of the welfare reform travesty – in which Clinton admits that the poorest families in the U.S. are worse off after welfare reform. Also describes how state control, combined with fiscal downturns, pulled money away from the poor.

The federal budget, battleground

So much to say about Obama’s budget, the geek in me actually wants to read the entire plan, but I have this pesky dissertation to finish instead. Budgets are inherently redistributive documents, in one direction or another. Obama’s proposal is being characterized as a bold effort to redistribute the benefits …

To Pay for Infrastructure Repairs, Obama Seeks Tax Changes

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Caught between a gridlocked Congress and a Highway Trust Fund that will soon be broke, President Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to overhaul corporate and business taxes to pay for repairing and replacing the nation’s aging roads, rails, bridges and tunnels. … New legislation to pay for transportation projects …

Woops!

The New York Times gets transcripts of conversations between the economists responsible for guiding the U.S. economy past the financial crisis, and failing. The hundreds of pages of transcripts, based on recordings made at the time, reveal the ignorance of Fed officials about economic conditions during the climactic months of …

Off the deep end

The “fiscal cliff” is one of my least favorite metaphors for an actual policy-making disaster. As the precipice nears, state governments are, naturally, starting to panic (California has its very own fiscal cliff also coming in January 2013, if a key ballot measure fails). NBCNews.com has a story on this …

Deep cuts to the federal safety net, continued

As we head into the home stretch of the presidential election, Congress is working on the budget. Much of the work is now being done in committees, and over the next months we’ll see a lot of extreme Republican proposals, Democratic pledges to halt them, and all the politics that …

A Cruel Republican Budget – NYTimes.com

Apparently undaunted by news that the UK, Europe’s biggest embracer of “austerity,” is expected to recover more slowly than any other OECD country except Italy, House Republicans propose a punitive budget: The budget, developed by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would cut $3.3 trillion from low-income programs over 10 years, …

A Nation With Too Many Tax Breaks — Economic Scene – NYTimes.com

Quick link: A NYT piece analyzes the distribution of tax spending (both direct expenditures and “tax expenditures”, i.e. foregone revenue). The debate is around the federal budget, but certainly cities have similar dynamics, in particular in the distribution of revenue collection between residents and businesses, and in structuring the property …