Since it is indeed budget release week, we'd like to take the opportunity today to shine a spotlight on a budget which doesn't get the same amount of press as, say, what Paul Ryan's trying to peddle. While the Senate Democrats released their budget proposal yesterday, a group of Progressives in the House released their blueprint for a budget as well.
What follows is a one-page description of the "Back To Work" budget proposal, highlighting the general outline and key ideas. For further information on this budget proposal in much greater detail, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has a handy website where you can find all the nuts and bolts.
It's important to remember, as all of these budget plans appear, that nobody's budget proposal will be enacted as-is. These things are always subject to tinkering, politicking, and deal-making along the way. What we'd like to see is a lot more attention, and a lot more consideration -- by both the media and Democrats in general -- of the positive proposals contained within the Back To Work Budget. Which is why we're turning the rest of the column over to this rundown.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus Back To Work Budget
7 million new jobs in one year
$4.4 trillion in deficit reduction
We're in a jobs crisis that isn't going away. Millions of hard-working American families are falling behind, and the richest 1 percent is taking home a bigger chunk of our nation's gains every year. Americans face a choice: we can either cut Medicare benefits to pay for more tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or we can close these tax loopholes to invest in jobs. We choose investment. The Back to Work Budget invests in America's future because the best way to reduce our long-term deficit is to put America back to work. In the first year alone, we create nearly 7 million American jobs and increase GDP by 5.7%. We reduce unemployment by 5% in three years with a jobs plan that includes repairing our nation's roads and bridges, and putting the teachers, cops and firefighters who have borne the brunt of our economic downturn back to work. We reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion by closing tax loopholes and asking the wealthy to pay a fair share. We repeal the arbitrary sequester and the Budget Control Act that are damaging the economy, and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, which provide high quality, low-cost medical coverage to millions of Americans when they need it most. This is what the country voted for in November. It's time we side with America's middle class and invest in their future.
- Infrastructure -- substantially increases infrastructure investment to the level the American Society of Civil Engineers says is necessary to close our infrastructure needs gap
- Education -- funds school modernizations and rehiring laid-off teachers
- Aid to States -- closes the recession-caused gap in state budgets for two years, allowing the rehiring of cops, firefighters, and other public employees
- Making Work Pay -- boosts consumer demand by reinstating an expanded tax credit for three years
- Emergency Unemployment Compensation -- allows beneficiaries to claim up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits in high-unemployment states for two years
- Public Works Job Programs and Aid to Distressed Communities -- includes job programs such as a Park Improvement Corps, Student Jobs Corps, and Child Care Corps
Fair Individual Tax
- Immediately allows Bush tax cuts to expire for families earning over $250K
- Higher tax rates for millionaires and billionaires (from 45% to 49%)
- Taxes income from investments the same as income from wages
Fair Corporate Tax
- Ends corporate tax bias toward moving jobs and profits overseas
- Enacts a financial transactions tax
- Reduces deductions for corporate jets, meals, and entertainment
- Returns Pentagon spending to 2006 levels, focusing on modern security needs
- No benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security
- Reduces health care costs by adopting a public option, negotiating drug prices, and reducing fraud
- Prices carbon pollution with a rebate to hold low income households harmless
- Eliminates corporate tax subsidies for oil, gas, and coal companies
-- Chris Weigant
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant