What They Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

It may seem a little wonky, but the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a pretty important government report. As Dean Baker explained a while back, it’s the “only major longitudinal survey that tracks the same families over time…. [It is] especially useful for examining the impact of TANF, Medicaid, and other anti-poverty programs.”

With poverty rising, more families declaring bankruptcy, and political fights over domestic spending on the way, the SIPP is the kind of report that can offer valuable information about the nation’s economic well-being.

Naturally, therefore, the administration wants less information. (via Steve M.)

[P]roposed Bush administration budget cuts to the Survey on Income and Program Participation, known as SIPP, will significantly reduce the amount of information it generates for the next four years.

“We’ll have the statistical equivalent of a Katrina on our hands if the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] refuses to request funding for the SIPP,” Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “We need the SIPP to determine which government programs are working and how to best make use of taxpayer dollars in tight fiscal times.”

How bad is it? Even the Heritage Foundation believes this is a mistake.

Once again, the administration would rather stick its head in the sand than deal with a problem.


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