The Antidote to Ryan's Toxic, Divisive Budget-- The Budget For All
In the aftermath of Ryan's smoke and mirrors budget proposal yesterday, Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison convened an emergency meeting of the Congressional Progressive Caucus this morning to set the budget priorities for the Democrats' biggest and most influential House caucus. Grijalva pointed out that Ryan's feckless budget "compounds last year’s mistakes: reckless cuts that slash millions of jobs, an end to the Medicare guarantee, and higher health costs for America’s seniors. The GOP scheme gives more tax breaks to billionaires, Big Oil, and corporations that ship American jobs overseas."
Stressing, as they did last year when they presented the People's Budget, that "getting our fiscal house in order will require tough decisions. In charting a fiscally sustainable path and addressing the jobs crisis, the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s "Budget for All" adheres to a vision of this country espoused by all Americans: We believe in lending a helping hand; keeping an eye out for our neighbors; a shot at the American dream for everyone; hard work, responsibility, and equal opportunity; and ensuring basic fairness."
In striking contrast to Ryan's budget, which is basically a roadmap to impoverishment for working families and a further collapse of the middle class, the CPC proposal asks "the most fortunate to contribute a sensible share, and help remake a country badly shaken, but whose best days have yet to come. We ask because we value a teacher as much as a CEO, a grocer as much as a venture capitalist, working moms as much as working dads, and our rough neighborhoods as much as our safe suburbs... The American living on Main Street believes in the covenant made between a government and its citizens. We hear them, and honor the promises made by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The CPC Budget protects these basic guarantees: When you are old, you will not live in poverty; when you are sick, you will have affordable health care; and when you’ve fallen on tough times, you will have financial support. Those promises are not up for negotiation or experimentation."
In essence this is a brief summary of what came out of today's meeting:
Americans believe, and experts agree, that the solution to our debt and deficit woes should rely on three components: Job growth, increased revenues, and spending cuts. The Budget for All-- like any legitimate budget plan-- relies on all three. Government is not the panacea for the issues that we face, but it is not the singular cause of our nation’s strife as some would suggest. Our budget is a plan for those that believe in a government that works for them and helps find solutions.
Our Budget Invests in Job Creation Now & Lays the Foundation for the Future
When middle-class Americans earn a paycheck, the entire economy succeeds. By focusing our investments in targeted areas such as transportation infrastructure, domestic manufacturing, and small businesses innovation, while supporting tax credits for working families, the Budget for All gets the economy back on the right track.
Our Budget Eliminates the Deficit by 2022
The CPC budget eliminates the deficit in a way that does not devastate what Americans want preserved, specifically, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Instead of eroding America’s hard-earned retirement plan and social safety net, our budget targets the true drivers of deficits in the next decade: unsustainable tax policies, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the recent recession.
Comprehensive Economic Recovery Package
• Infrastructure Bank
• Surface transportation investment (we propose a six-year $556 billion reauthorization bill that, over ten years, would lead to a $213 billion increase in transportation funding)
• Making Work Pay tax credit for 2013 through 2015
• $1.45 trillion domestic investment package including:The Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act-- School Improvement, Park Improvement, Student Jobs, Neighborhood Heroes, Health, Community, and Child Care Corps Job Creating Initiatives from the President’s FY2013 Budget
o Temporary 10 percent tax credit for new jobs and wage increases ($18.4 billion)
o Additional tax credits for investment in advanced energy manufacturing ($3.5 billion)
o National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes ($1 billion)
o Capital access for entrepreneurs and small businesses ($2 million)
o Manufacturing Communities tax credit ($4.4 billion)
o Tax credit for the production of advanced technology vehicles ($1.9 billion)
o Tax credit for alternative-fuel commercial vehicles ($1.7 billion)
o Double the amount of expensed start-up expenditures ($3 billion)
o Enhance and make permanent the research and experimentation tax credit ($108 billion)
Individual Income Tax Policies
• Allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the top 2% of earnings at the end of 2012, while extending marriage relief, credits, and incentives for children, families, and education.
• Allow the 28% and 25% brackets to sunset once the economy is on solid footing, in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
• Maintain refundable credits’ expansion as outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit)
• Index the AMT for inflation for a decade (the AMT patch is fully paid for)
• Enact the Fairness in Taxation Act - millionaire and billionaire tax rates proposal (adding 45%, 46%, 47%, 48%, and 49% top rates)
• Tax all capital gains and qualified dividends as ordinary income
• Repeal the step-up basis for capital gains
• Adopt sensible, pre-2001 estate tax policy
• Limit the rate at which itemized deductions can reduce tax liability to 28% for high earners
• Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for vacation homes and yachts
• Replace the tax exclusion for interest on state and local bonds with a subsidy for the issuer
• Enact a high net worth surcharge (0.5% on wealth over $10 million, phased out over 10 years)
• End the exclusion for foreign-earned income
Corporate Tax Reform
• Eliminate corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies
• Enact a financial crisis responsibility fee
• Enact a financial speculation tax (derivatives, foreign exchange)
• Reinstate Superfund taxes
• Price carbon pollution together with a robust rebate that holds low and moderate income households harmless
• Close various corporate loopholes that distort true tax liability
• Adopt the international tax reforms in the President’s FY2013 budget
• Enact a public option
• Allow Medicare to negotiate cheaper prescription drug prices in Part D
• Adopt the CMS program integrity and other Medicare and Medicaid savings in the President’s budget
• Adopt the generic prescription drug development and release proposals in the President’s budget
• Reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicaid in the President’s budget
• Adopt the Narrowing Exceptions for Withholding Taxes (NEWT) Act
• Prevent a cut in Medicare physician payments for a decade (the “doc fix” is fully paid for)
• End subsidies for junk and fast food advertising to children
• Eliminate the taxable maximum on the employer and employee side, phased in over 5 years.
• Maintain benefit structure, increase benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side
• End overseas contingency operations emergency funding starting in Fiscal Year 2014, providing funding for a secure redeployment in FY2013
• Reduce baseline defense spending by reducing strategic capabilities, conventional forces, procurement, and end strength
• Enact Comprehensive immigration reform
• Reduce agriculture subsidies
• Adopt public financing of elections
A good day to show Raul Grijalva that you back him and the work he's doing in Congress? Please consider a contribution to a tough reelection campaign, where conservative anti-family forces have already recruited two right-winger "Business-friendly" Democrats-- really Republicans in a blue district-- to run against him. Raul has his own Blue America page.
Nick Ruiz, the Blue America candidate in the Orlando area, e-mailed me early this morning, very excited about this budget proposal from the CPC. He finds it "ambitious."
And that's exactly what America needs right now. Sound and vision-- not silence and textbook talking points. Not closet neoconservatism. Not ramshackle austerity. But rather, fresh ideas, diverse insights, and pure democratic fidelity.
America needs a socioeconomic Emancipation Proclamation-- for every man, woman and child. The CPC's Budget for All is it. Where Lincoln freed enslaved Americans, America again shall be freed from the punishment of misguided market fascism. The Budget for All invests in Main St. It requires patriotism from all, in the form of individual shared investment and corporate social responsibility.
We can do this. We can pass a budget like this, if not in 2012, then in 2013. Put me in Congress-- and I will see it through."