Thursday, March 26, 2015

Budget Battle-- The Losers Are America's Working Families, Of Course


Yesterday the House defeated the Progressive Caucus's People's Budget... again. It was a budget put together as a roadmap to do the job of uplifting ordinary American working families-- and doing so in a fiscally responsible manner. Conservatives easily beat it back without breaking a sweat, 96 to 244. More than half (51.5%) of the Democrats in Congress voted for it and it was the most votes the CPC budget ever got (even though the Democratic caucus is smaller). 

It certainly is not the kind of budget that would please the paymasters of the American political system. The big losers: the 1% and the special interest parasites who thrive on the life's blood of working people. By ending unfair tax cuts to the very rich, the People's Budget was meant to finance a robust program of public investment that would create as many as 8.4 million sustainable jobs. Among the 86 Democrats who voted against it were the slimy bribe-taking characters we have been warning you about: worthless garbage like Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA), Jim Himes (New Dem-CT), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL), Steve Israel (New Dem-NY), Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE), Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), Lois Frankel (FL), Donald Norcross (NJ), Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH), Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Scott Peters (New Dem-CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY) and-- look what the cat dragged in-- Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, eagerly running as the Establishment candidate for the open Maryland Senate seat against Donna Edwards, who, of course, did vote for the People's Budget.

Had the budget passed and been signed into law it would have addressed education by funding debt-free college and universal Pre-K. It allocated $820 billion for desperately needed transportation and infrastructure improvements and would have ended the draconian cuts to food stamps. So how would all this spending be paid down?
Taking the ax to corporate welfare, especially for fossil fuel conglomerates and their unconscionable subsidies

Taxing polluters

Taxes on families earning over a quarter million annually would have risen slightly to Clinton-era rates

Finally ending the mortgage interest tax deduction for yachts and vacation homes

Closing the “trust fund loophole” for the children of billionaires

Taxing (0.07%) the Too Big to Fail banks on assets exceeding $50 billion
Just before yesterday's debate, The Hill published an OpEd by Jan Schakowsky contrasting the sharp choices Congress is looking between the Republican proposals and the People's Budget.
The GOP budgets proposed in Congress would cut about $5 trillion over the next decade. The overwhelming burden would fall on programs that boost working families: education, Medicare and Medicaid, college aid, job training, medical research and rebuilding roads and bridges. Tens of millions of Americans would lose health insurance and millions more would lose food stamps or be priced out of college.

Republicans push these devastating cuts as a path to a balanced budget. But their budgets have been widely panned by experts as being based on “magic asterisks.” While they’re comfortable putting the squeeze on working families who will be most affected by these cuts in benefits and services, they refuse to ask corporations and the wealthy to contribute one thin dime to the effort. In fact, not one tax loophole is closed by their budgets.

Instead, the House GOP’s proposed budget would give bigger tax cuts to the wealthy, blowing a $1 trillion-plus hole in the budget over the next decade, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Not surprisingly, neither Republican budget details their top priority: tax reform that would result in an even bigger giveaway. That’s because the public doesn’t support their wish list and because their numbers don’t add up.

Their goal of reducing the top tax rates paid by the rich and corporations by about one- third will cost another $3 trillion, based on the plan they offered last year. Republicans have proposed no credible plan to pay for those tax breaks. The average millionaire would cut his tax bill by $200,000. And it would do nothing to end the scandal that hugely profitable corporations-- General Electric, Boeing, Verizon and scores of other companies-- paid no federal income taxes over a recent five-year period.

In stark contrast, the “People’s Budget: A Raise for America”-- authored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus with assistance from the Economic Policy Institute Policy Center-- invests in our nation in a robust, straightforward way. It would create millions of- jobs, repair our crumbling roads and bridges, make college affordable, improve our schools and other community services, and get us to full employment in two years.

Where does the money come from? No “magic asterisks” here-- wealthy households and big corporations are finally asked to pay their fair share.

Corporations would no longer get a tax break when they shift jobs and hide profits offshore. Income generated from investments primarily owned by the wealthy would no longer be taxed at a lower rate than income earned from weekly paychecks. Wall Street gamblers would pay a tiny tax on all their wheeler-dealer trading. Millionaires and billionaires would pay somewhat higher tax rates (but still lower than they did during most of the Reagan administration).

Average Americans are hungry for this kind of responsible reform. They know the tax code is stacked against them in favor of the well-off and well-connected. In a recent Pew Research Center poll, over 60 percent of respondents said their top complaint about the tax system was that corporations and the wealthy don’t pay their fair share, while only 27 percent were most concerned about their own tax bill.

Budgets are about choices. Republicans have chosen in their budgets to further enrich the wealthy and corporations at the expense of workers, children, veterans, seniors-- the whole broad American family. In contrast, the People’s Budget gives all of us a reason to mobilize around a vision for our future that will expand opportunities for everyday Americans.
Alex Law, the progressive running against corrupt South Jersey Machine congressman Donald Norcross, was disappointed-- if not surprised. This morning he told us that Norcross, "yet again has shown his commitment to protecting special interests over protecting real people. Yesterday, he voted with Republicans against the CPC People's Budget despite the fact that it included important pieces such as raising wages, better child care programs, significant investment in our decaying infrastructure, comprehensive corporate tax reform, student loan reform, environmental protection, and campaign finance reform measures. These are all central tenants of my progressive campaign, and I would have proudly voted to support this legislation if I were in Washington."

Ted Lieu (D-CA) called the budget a "powerful, profound statement of American values and vision... [that] charts a bold course of economic growth for America. [It] recognizes that the middle class is the true engine of our nation’s economy by giving working Americans a well-earned and long overdue raise with paid overtime and guaranteed sick and parental leave...The CPC Budget is aptly named; it is an economic plan that creates jobs, expands health security and guarantees a dignified retirement for everyone in America. I am proud to support the CPC People’s Budget.”

If you think it was bad enough that 86 conservative and corrupt Democrats voted against the CPC People's Budget yesterday, there were also 22 Democrats who voted against the official Democratic budget Van Hollen put forward, primarily New Dems, Blue Dogs and other cowardly fake Democrats who home to GOP positions. Perfect example: Patrick Murphy of Florida, a lifelong Republican opportunist disguised-- vaguely-- as a Democrat and eager to get into the Senate.

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At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Exit 135 said...

The President is flying into Patrick Murphy's district (again) this weekend to play golf. This district is ground zero for income inequality. I imagine there will be a meeting.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Ed Crotty said...

I wrote a nasty-gram to my congressman Bill Foster IL-11. He is voting way too Blue-Dog-ish for me.

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Exit 135

Is this not proof that Obama is not now, and never was, the liberal he pretended to be as a candidate - BOTH TIMES?


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