Thank you Rep. Grijalva and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) for submitting the People's Budget. Now, what is it?
It's a lot to go through, but it's important to summarize the main points. Slogging through the slightly wonkish language of CPC's summary the question can be answered in short by answering the question: Who takes the hits?
Both Obama's and Ryan's budgets are most notable for what is NOT on the table. CPC corrects this. The thumbnail version of the CPC budget is:
- Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and education do not take the hits
- Rich people do, in the form of elimination of off-shore corporate tax havens, rolling back the Bush Tax Cuts, and the ever-privileged-for-many-years oil and gas subsidies, which was meant to encourage exploration but in fact merely gives $50 billion a year to the richest people and corporations in the world. This is money which is coming from the pockets of people who are scraping by on twenty grand a year, going straight into the pockets of people whose income is in the millions
- The Pentagon takes a hit through the simplest and most overdue measure: ending the wars.
- The People's Budget takes the Depression-era remedy for pumping up the economy of creating jobs, by repairing rotting bridges, potholed roads (for the first time some rural road systems are beginning to resemble the Third World's), and other needed work which contributes in the long run to growth.
There are many other intricacies of the People's Budget, but in a nutshell it brings to a screeching halt the philosophy which began with Ronald Reagan's "voodoo economics," as Bush the Elder once called it before he became the Republican nominee for VP, and then embraced it as his own. Voodoo is simply the richest 1% saying: "When I'm doing better, you're doing better."
Well, no, we're not.
They did better by sucking $8 trillion from the budget for the Wall Street bail-outs which rewarded incompetent business practices. That would be as if I ran a hot dog stand at Fenway Park and was so bad at it that I lost my investment, then the government came along and said, here, no problem, here's your investment back. Now do it again. That is a simple summary of the bail-outs. $8 trillion is nearly twice the projected savings of each of these budgets, Ryan's, Obama's, and the CPC's, but getting the bail-out money back is not on the table in any of them. Rep. Grijalva's comes closest, because it hits the same people who benefited from the bail-outs in the first place.
These bail-out artists are the same hypocrites who holler "socialism!" if you give a poor kid a 5 cent typhoid shot.
Economist Jeff Sachs gives a Nobel economist-size nod to the People's budget:
Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People's Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan's almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People's Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.
Jeff Sachs is not exactly a flaming lib, and even he has had enough.
You are not reading about the People's Budget in the papers. Good God, are you crazy? People would be gathering on the steps of the White House. The tools we have to make people aware that Dickensonian attacks on the poorest, and what is left of the shredded American middle class, are not necessary to balance the budget, are your Facebooks, Twitters, and all the tools of the Internet which got the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions rolling along nicely. Be sure you include the below number for the Capitol switchboard so their phones are ringing off the hook night and day.
Not one more vote for you, ever, not one more penny, if you do not back the People's Budget.
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