The New York Times on the Bush Administration's plans to discontinue the Survey of Income and Program Participation:
Discovering What Happens Next - New York Times: The White House has a sorry history of withholding information that the public and Congress need to make informed policy judgments. A proposal in President Bush's new budget would take that damaging tendency one step further by eliminating a government survey that captures the real-world impact of welfare reform, Medicaid, child-support enforcement and many other policies and programs. Started by the Census Bureau in 1984, this study, called the Survey of Income and Program Participation, questions thousands of the same people every four months for two to four years and gathers details about their lives, including their use of government aid. It is particularly valuable for the way it uncovers the actual effects of government programs and the way people move in and out of them. Most other polls simply capture data at a given point in time.
Take welfare reform, for example. Rather than evaluating it simply by the number of people on welfare before and after, researchers using the survey have isolated the factors -- social, economic and personal -- that have allowed some men and women to successfully leave welfare for work and the factors that caused others to fall into deeper poverty. Such information is vital to build on what works, to amend what doesn't and to allocate scarce government resources accordingly. Getting rid of the survey this year, as the new budget proposes, would make it very difficult to study the fallout from deep cuts in food stamps, child care, Medicaid and other programs for the poor that Congress passed and Mr. Bush signed last month. That would be great for politicians who don't want to be held accountable. But it would be a big loss for anyone who wants government to work well.
The Bush Administration: Not Just Dumb. Evil Too.