Paul Krugman, long a critic of the deceit involved in the Ryan budget proposal and the failure of the Obama alternative, likes the budget proposal from the Progressive Caucus:
[T]he only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget is the one that includes significant tax increases: the “People’s Budget” from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which — unlike the Ryan plan, which was just right-wing orthodoxy with an added dose of magical thinking — is genuinely courageous because it calls for shared sacrifice.
True, it increases revenue partly by imposing substantially higher taxes on the wealthy, which is popular everywhere except inside the Beltway. But it also calls for a rise in the Social Security cap, significantly raising taxes on around 6 percent of workers. And, by rescinding many of the Bush tax cuts, not just those affecting top incomes, it would modestly raise taxes even on middle-income families.
All of this, combined with spending cuts mostly focused on defense, is projected to yield a balanced budget by 2021. And the proposal achieves this without dismantling the legacy of the New Deal, which gave us Social Security, and the Great Society, which gave us Medicare and Medicaid.
But if the progressive proposal has all these virtues, why isn’t it getting anywhere near as much attention as the much less serious Ryan proposal? It’s true that it has no chance of becoming law anytime soon. But that’s equally true of the Ryan proposal.
The answer, I’m sorry to say, is the insincerity of many if not most self-proclaimed deficit hawks. To the extent that they care about the deficit at all, it takes second place to their desire to do precisely what the People’s Budget avoids doing, namely, tear up our current social contract, turning the clock back 80 years under the guise of necessity. They don’t want to be told that such a radical turn to the right is not, in fact, necessary.
But, it isn’t, as the progressive budget proposal shows. We do need to bring the deficit down, although we aren’t facing an immediate crisis. How we go about stemming the tide of red ink is, however, a choice — and by making tax increases part of the solution, we can avoid savaging the poor and undermining the security of the middle class.
This is apparently happening in other places across the country as Republicans who voted to abolish Medicare as we know it went home to their districts. Note that, alas, there is no organization behind these meetings as no progressive or left-wing organization is together enough to support these discussions. Reports are the Koch-Republican Party is now mobilizing to send in “supporters” to defend the Ryan plan.
As President Obama reportedly prepares to give his speach that will suggested modest tears in the social safety net, thus virtually guaranteeing that the result will be the net’s shredding, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has proposed a real alternative, the People’s Budget:
Progressive Caucus co-chairs Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison sent a memo to House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen April 6 outlining the Caucus’ top budget priorities. The letter and attached budget information are available at this link. An op-ed by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University endorsing the People’s Budget is available at this link (off-site).
The CPC proposal:
• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021
• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
• Protects the social safety net
• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)
What the proposal accomplishes:
• Primary budget balance by 2014.
• Budget surplus by 2021.
• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.
• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.
• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.
Tgh this budget is far from radical, the corporate media and the pro-corporate politicians from both parties will do everything possible to keep people from realizing that there is a genuine alternative available. We should do what we can to enter this alternative into the budget debates that may send our country back to the 1920s in a matter of months.
Economist Jeffrey Sachs say of the People’s Budget:
In the progressive middle is the People’s Budget. Like Ryan’s plan, the People’s Budget would cut the budget deficit to zero by 2021, but would do so in an efficient and fair way. It would close the budget deficit by raising tax rates on the rich and giant corporations, while also curbing military spending and wrestling health care costs under control, partly by introducing a public option. By raising tax revenues to 22.3 percent of GDP by 2021, the People’s Budget closes the budget deficit while protecting the poor and promoting needed investments in education, health care, roads, power, energy, and the environment in order to raise America’s long-term competitiveness. The People’s Budget thereby achieves what Ryan and Obama do not: the combination of fairness, efficiency, and budget balance….
The Republicans often say that they want Congress to respect the voice of the people. The voice of the people is crystal clear. In one opinion surveyafter the next, the public says that the rich and the corporations should pay more taxes. The public says that we should tamp down runaway health care costs through a public option, one that would introduce competition to drive down bloated private health insurance costs. The public says that we should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce Pentagon spending. (Just yesterday, Defense Secretary Gates let loose the predictable Pentagon canard that we should stay in Iraq if the Iraqi government asks for it. Better yet, we should respond to what the American people are asking for: to bring our troops home).
The fact is that the People’s Budget is the public’s position. That’s why it is truly a centrist initiative, at the broad center of the U.S. political spectrum. Ryan reflects the wishes of the rich and the far right. Obama’s position reflects the muddle of a White House that wavers between its true values and the demands of the wealthy campaign contributors and lobbyists that Obama courts for his re-election. Many Democrats in Congress have also gone along with the falsehood that deficit cutting means slashing spending on the poor and on civilian discretionary programs, rather than raising taxes on the rich, cutting military spending, and taking on the over-priced private health insurance industry. Only the People’s Budget speaks to the broad needs and values of the American people.
The current budget negotiations have been a dialogue among the wealthy. The big debate has focused on which programs for the poor should be axed first…. With public protests against government by the rich now spreading in Wisconsin, Ohio and beyond, and with the launch of the People’s Budget by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a great national movement to restore American democracy has begun.
The Republican Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee wants to cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations!
Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he hopes to cut the tax rate for the richest individuals and corporations to 25 percent to help spur job growth.
The top U.S. tax rate has been 35 percent for both individuals and corporations since 2001, when President George W. Bush pushed for tax cuts. The previous rate, which President Barack Obama has proposed the US returns to, was 39.6 percent.
The Onion succinctly describes the dilemma faced by millions today:
Americans Bravely Go To Polls Despite Threat Of Electing Congress
WASHINGTON—Despite the very real threat of electing the 112th Congress, millions of courageous Americans lined up at their polling places today and put their right to vote above the awful possibility of sending a politician to represent them in Washington. “I was afraid the moment I showed up to vote, and now that I’ve cast my ballot, I’m even more terrified,” said Kentucky resident Mary Buchanan, who ran to her car and drove home immediately after exercising her constitutional right. “But I knew I had to face my fear and participate in our democracy, even if my actions could lead to electing another U.S. senator.” The day was not without tragedy, however, as the choice between voting for incumbent Harry Reid and challenger Sharron Angle left 20 Americans dead and injured 13 at a Carson City, NV polling place