Yesterday, the Progressive Caucus released a Back to Work budget in response to Paul Ryan's extreme austerity plan. Presented by Progressive co-chairs Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, it provided an anti-austerity antidote. They stated that we do not have a deficit crisis but a severe jobs crisis. They noted we have a choice, either cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to provide more tax cuts for the rich or we can close the tax loopholes and invest in jobs. They said Progressives choose investment.
Most of America has probably never heard of this budget and its dramatic alternatives to Paul Ryan's budget plan released Monday. This is because the Beltway media wants us all to believe there is no rational alternative to this extremely irrational austerity budget of Ryan's. The media owned by the 1% wants all of us to believe that austerity is inevitable thus resigning ourselves to being robbed blind by the Republican budget priorities.
Paul Ryan wants you to believe his budget makes all the hard choices. It makes none. His is a cowardly choice because he hasn't the courage to identify what he would cut because his ideas are so unpopular. The Progressive Budget lays out what it would tax, and what it would cut, where it would invest, and where it saves.
The Conservative response from Reason and others is that this budget would bankrupt the nation quickly. One wonders how dumb the Right thinks Americans are, because austerity is bankrupting this nation and has been a huge redistributor of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest Americans. The Progressive budget reverses that cash flow.
It begins with a 2.1 trillion dollar stimulus that runs from 2013 to 2015. This plan includes $425 billion for infrastructure, a $340 billion dollar tax cut for the middle class, $450 billion dollar public works initiative, and$179 billion in state and local aid.
Some budget analysts predict this plan would boost the Gross Domestic Product by as much as 5.7%. In addition it would create around 6.9 million jobs. The goal is to reduce unemployment to 5%.
Progressives would pay for this with 4.2 trillion dollars in new revenue. This would come from raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans so they would now be required to pay their fair share as would corporations under this plan. They would also close a multitude of tax loopholes. The last part of their revenue restructuring would include a carbon tax and a financial transactions tax putting the brakes on some of Wall Streets more radical wheeling and dealing.
In a Republican controlled House of Representatives this budget will get scant hearing. The House will pass the Ryan fruitcake fantasy of a budget which has no chance in the Senate. The Progressive Budget does provide some real alternatives for the first time in years to austerity. Many of these ideas may become more and more popular as the Washington gridlock continues and Americans become even more fed up with the Republicans and their Democratic Party enablers.