Saturday, March 16, 2013

The importance of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget

Ryan's new budget came out, a re-hashed version of the old one that basically steals from the poor to gives to the rich, again. His rhetoric doesn't match what's actually in the budget, a typical regressive ploy to hide the truth with false framing. The progressives, on the other hand, are getting better at framing but instead use it to honestly promote programs that actually benefit the majority of people. See this link at the CPC site on various recent news stories on their new Back to Work budget.

The first is Krugman's recent article. He notes how the CPC budget understands the need to first address investment spending to stimulate the economy, which will temporarily increase the deficit. But also addresses long-term debt with higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Klein notes that the stimulus spending will go to much-needed infrastructure and public works projects, as well as a middle-class tax cut. All of which will boost GDP by 5.7% and employment by nearly 7 million jobs within one year. God forbid lest we have that sort of progress under progressive policies, thus once and for all proving not only their efficacy but the myth of regressive austerity policies that enrich only the 1%.

Klein also says such stimulus would indeed increase the deficit. But the CPC's answer is higher taxes. What taxes specifically?

"About $4.2 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade, to be exact. The revenues come from raising marginal tax rates on high-income individuals and corporations, but also from closing a raft of deductions as well as adding a financial transactions tax and a carbon tax. They also set up a slew of super-high tax rates for the very rich, including a top rate of 49 percent on incomes over $1 billion."

See the actual budget summary here. Also note the reasonable cuts through ending or reducing tax loopholes that will address the deficit and the long-term debt: fossil fuel subsidies, corporate entertainment and meal write-offs, stock options, yachts and vacation homes, corporate jets. They's also impose a financial transaction tax and lower Pentagon spending. Instead of reducing benefits to the big 3 entitlements--Medicare, Medicaid and Social security--they'd adopt a public option, allow negotiation for drug prices and reduce fraud.

Unfortunately the CPC budget, like Ryan's, has no chance of passing. But it is important nonetheless to show the stark contrast between the kind of vision each has for our country. It provides a very real blue print of the past and the future, Ryan's being regressive to the past of feudal aristocracy and the CPC's forward to a P2P future of equality and fairness. We will progress to that vision eventually. And it must be held in mind and continually reinforced to keep us moving in that direction, if every so slowly and incrementally. And I am most grateful to the CPC, and the 'liberal' media, for bringing this budget to the fore, for it needs attention if we're ever going to get there.

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