We must fight for the American people. We need a tax system that is fair and stops the giveaways for millionaires and corporations that ship American jobs overseas. We need to close corporate tax loopholes being exploited at a great cost to taxpayers. We must cut subsidies to oil and gas companies currently reaping windfall profits at the expense of consumers. We must protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — the safety nets that have made this country strong and prosperous. The Republicans have opened an all-out attack to privatize and destroy them. We must invest in our children and make sure they have the same opportunities we have. We need to responsibly end the wars abroad and limit future military excursions that obligate tax dollars and the lives of young men and women with little direct benefit to the United States. We should use this money to take care of our troops and veterans by making sure they have jobs and health care when they return. The best way to get us on track is to put the millions of Americans who would love to be taxpayers again back to work building new infrastructure and a twenty-first century economy. I would like to present you our alternative plan: “The People’s Budget.” This budget saves the American people from the recklessness of the Republican majority.
If you listen to the media (and a lot of Liberal bloggers), there’s no coherent Democratic alternative to Paul Ryan’s “slash and burn”, wealth-friendly budget proposal. Except that there is. Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), on behalf of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have set forth a coherent, well-thought-out, and eminently sensible set of proposals that deserves a long, hard look…if only because they make Ryan’s budget look like the mean-spirited document it is.
While Ryan’s budget is about cutting spending and doing away with things, the CPC budget is about addressing and fixing some of the most glaring problems we face today. Tax policy, infrastructure, job creation, health care, Social Security, and defense are all addressed in common sense ways that make it clear what America values…and it’s not tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate tax breaks, or a Third World-quality health care delivery system.
Republicans continue to act as if we’re broke, as if we have no options but to slash trillions of dollars in spending immediately and for all time. The reality is that America isn’t broke. The sky isn’t falling. While we need to get our financial house in order, we aren’t out of money, and we do have options. This isn’t the time to panic and cut spending merely for the sake of cutting spending. What we need to do is to have a conversation and determine where our priorities lie and what kind of America we want to live in.
From where I sit, the question is a very simple one: Do we want to be an America that exalts the individual above all else and negates the Social Contract, or do we want to be an America that believes we move forward faster and more effectively when we’re all pulling together? I believe that America is a better, richer, and more vibrant place when we pull together. It’s what Americans have always done in times of crisis. Why should our current fiscal dilemma be any different?
After the jump, you can read the outline of the CPC’s proposal. It’s neither radical nor pie-in-the-sky, nor does it create an America of, by, and for the wealthy and well-off…which is more than can be said for Paul Ryan’s draconian budget.
It’s time to figure what kind of country we want to be. What’s it going to be, America??
CPC Budget Proposal:
Breakdown of Policies
Individual income tax policies
1. Extend marriage relief, credits, and incentives for children, families, and education, but let the upper-income tax cuts expire and let tax brackets revert to Clinton-era rates
2. Index the AMT for inflation for a decade (AMT patch paid for)
3. Rescind the upper-income tax cuts in the tax deal
4. Schakowsky millionaire tax rates proposal (adding 45%, 46%, and 47% top rates)
5. Progressive estate tax (Sanders estate tax, repeal of Kyl-Lincoln)
6. Tax capital gains and qualified dividends as ordinary income
Corporate tax reform
1. Tax U.S. corporate foreign income as it is earned
2. Eliminate corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies
3. Enact a financial crisis responsibility fee
4. Financial speculation tax (derivatives, foreign exchange)
1. Enact a public option
2. Negotiate Rx payments with pharmaceutical companies
3. CMS program integrity and other Medicare and Medicaid savings in the president’s budget.
4. Prevent a cut in Medicare physician payments for a decade (maintain doc fix)
1. Raise the taxable maximum on the employee side to 90% of earnings and eliminate the taxable maximum on the employer side
2. Increase benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side
1. End overseas contingency operations emergency supplementals starting in 2013, providing $170 billion in FY2012 funding for withdrawal
2. Reduce baseline Defense spending by reducing strategic capabilities, conventional forces, procurement, and R&D programs
1. Invest $1.45 trillion in job creation, early childhood, K-12 and special education, quality child care, energy and broadband infrastructure, housing, and R&D
2. Infrastructure bank
3. Surface transportation reauthorization bill
4. Finance surface transportation reauthorization