Budget Matters Blog

Category: Social Insurance, Earned Benefits, & Safety Net


The Debate We're Not Having

These days, it’s fashionable for any candidate for federal office to talk about how quickly he’ll reduce the budget deficit, which totaled around $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2012.


Voting for the First Time

I used to be oblivious to the inner workings of my pay stub, and how the taxes I pay are used by the federal government. As a recent high school graduate, working two jobs and preparing for college, reading A People’s Guide to the Federal Budget has been a real eye-opener. As I prepare to vote for the first time this fall, and enter into college as a political science major, I am more aware of how seemingly concrete numbers can be twisted around to aid different points of view.


Faces of the Budget

This fall we're launching the incredible stories of Americans across the country in a project called Faces of the Budget. National Priorities Project has been gathering the stories of every-day people and how they've been affected by the spending and tax policies of the federal budget. Since all of us ...


The Top 6 Questions to Ask Candidates

This election season, National Priorities Project is launching a suite of materials to arm voters with crucial information about what's at stake in November. And part of being informed is knowing what questions to ask candidates. Here are the top six things to ask your congressional candidates about where they ...

Ryan Pick Solidifies Competing Visions in Federal Budget Debate

If there was ever any doubt that the U.S. federal budget would claim center-stage in the 2012 presidential race, it vanished with Mitt Romney's selection of House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee. Although Mitt Romney has emphasized he will run on a Romney budget, ...


Data Story: Rising Medicaid Enrollment

Unemployment rose sharply following the start of the Great Recession in 2007. At the same time, enrollment in Medicaid increased as Americans who were hard-hit in the economic downturn qualified for the health insurance program for low-income Americans. Medicaid enrollment rose from 16.6 percent of the under-65 population in 2007 to 20.6 percent in 2010.


You Ask, We Answer: What's a Block Grant? (And Why Nuns Care)

Karen from Colorado asks us, “What’s a block grant?” She said she’s been hearing that phrase a lot without knowing what it means – or if it’s important. It’s a great question, Karen, because block grants are important. They’re part of the reason a group of nuns recently began the Nuns on the Bus cross-country tour.


You Ask, We Answer: Is the Private Sector Fine?

William from Denver, Colorado, asks: “Is there a way to show whether or not the private sector is actually ‘doing fine?’ In TV commercials I see that Mitt Romney is criticizing President Obama for saying that.” Great minds can disagree about what constitutes “fine,” so let’s look at a firm measure of private sector health – the most recent jobs report. It didn’t contain a lot of good news, though there was perhaps one bright spot.


Understanding Unemployment

Last week’s jobs report for May by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployment grew for the first time in three months, albeit very slowly, up one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent. Good news or bad news? The news coverage has focused on the “bad,” but the ...


Updated Data: SNAP (Food Stamps)

SNAP participation and monthly benefits data are now current through fiscal year 2011.