Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's Ahead in 2009?

The Urban Institute released six new reports on the current recession and various aspects of any recovery we might anticipate. Consider these "facts and forecasts" from their analysis:

  • Following the economic downturns of 1980-1982 and 1990-92, it took five years for unemployment numbers to drop back to the lower levels prior to those periods of decline. At best, we likely can expect the same with this recession.

  • By 2007, the inflation-adjusted incomes of families among the poorest 20% of U. S. households had not recovered to their peaks on the eve of the 2001 recession.

  • Unemployment benefits were claimed by up to 60% of the unemployed in the early 1970s, but by only 40% over the past twenty years.

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) is designed to help working families of low-income; enrollment could drop among the growing numbers of unemployed able-bodied adults without children.

  • Congress may need to consider using Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funding to assist the growing numbers of unemployed, while relaxing the program's work requirement.

  • Although the earned income tax credit, the largest cash assistance program for low-income working families, successfully encourages work, particularly among single mothers, it is an unreliable safety net during times of rising unemployment and reduced incomes.

  • Each 1 percentage point rise in national unemployment will increase Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program enrollment by 1 million people. A 1-point jump also will translate to an additional 1.1 million uninsured adults.

For more information visit The Urban Institute site.

Challenges ahead. Your thoughts?


1 comment:

RightDemocrat said...

It is imperative that we expand the safety net and reverse the trickle down economic policies of the past 27 years. We need to revise tax and trade policies to help create a broad based prosperity rather than just more wealth for the top 5 percent income group.