Have you heard of The People’s Budget ( there is a full pdf at the link). Probably not if you rely on the nightly broadcast news or the usual cadre of Washington pundits. The Economist likes it. ( CNN did do a piece on The People’s Budget and Paul Krugman likes it. Not exactly the kind of wide-spread coverage Ryan’s plan received).Which is almost asking if anyone has read that new story on quantum mechanics and probability theory in quantum geek magazine. The Economist is popular for what it is, a generally mediocre conventional wisdom take on all things economic with a right of center slant. Though I guess I should go easy on them since they actually like The People’s Budget,
Have you ever heard of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget plan? Neither had I. The caucus’s co-chairs, Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota, released it on April 6th. The budget savings come from defence cuts, including immediately withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq, which saves $1.6 trillion over the CBO baseline from 2012-2021. The tax hikes include restoring the estate tax, ending the Bush tax cuts, and adding new tax brackets for the extremely rich, running from 45% on income over a million a year to 49% on income over a billion a year.
Mr Ryan’s plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus’s plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by cutting defence spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people. Mr Ryan has been fulsomely praised for his courage. The Progressive Caucus has not.
I’m not really sure what “courage” is supposed to mean here, but this seems precisely backwards. For 30 years, certainly since Walter Mondale got creamed by Ronald Reagan, the most dangerous thing a politician can do has been to call for tax hikes. Politicians who call for higher taxes are punished, which is why they don’t do it. I’m curious to see what adjectives people would apply to the Progressive Congressional Caucus’s budget proposal. But it’s hard for me to imagine the media calling a proposal to raise taxes “courageous” and “honest”. And my sense is that the disparate treatment here is a structural bias rooted in class.
Ryan’s plan takes money from the middle-class and seniors, while giving the wealthiest Americans and corporations yet another tax break . The Villagers in D.C. and the far Right has some strange ideas about courage. I always thought, as my police acquaintances do, that taking from the most vulnerable is not courage, its being a cowardly punk. What is so radical about the People’s Budget is that it repeals almost all of the Bush tax cuts, even more than President Obama plans to do. The PB does keep some elements of the Bush-Obama changes in tax structure, keeping about a trillion in tax credits, like marriage relief and benefits for children and education. According to polls most Americans support reverting to tax rates on the wealthy that we had during the Clinton years. Even the Committee for Economic Development, a nonpartisan policy-research group of business and university leaders supports putting tax increases on the bargaining table( no courage from John Boehner (R-Oh) and House Republicans there. Regardless of the insanity and immaturity of saying no to any tax increases). So being courageous might just mean listening to what the people are saying. There is absolutely no support for cutting Medicare beyond some fringe wackos –i.e. Ryan supporters. One small progressive group has come out and stated the unvarnished truth, we have a revenue problem. Those who are of the scorched earth philosophy toward the economy, the middle-class and the working poor, a decaying country that resembles a fiefdom with our Wall St overlords at the top probably find the Ryan plan a poor substitute for their fantasy America, but it is the next best thing.
This budget is not perfect, but that probably does not matter anyway because it is going nowhere. The PB is actually serious about deficit reduction, creating jobs and keeping a strong social safety net. Conservatives are not, never have been and never will be serious about proper management of the economy. What they are very serious about is dismantling as much of the social safety net like Medicare – REPORT: The 46 Year-Long Republican War On Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as they can.The conservative movement could care less about deficits per se. Their economic record on spending and deregulation proves it.
I’ve always thought John Boehner(R-OH) was a joker – House Speaker John Boehner to President Obama: ‘Come on! Time to Grow Up’ About Deficit and Taxes. Or maybe John is a top, he spins like one – Less Than Two Months After GOP Voted To Preserve Billions In Taxpayer Oil Subsidies, Boehner Now Opposes Them (Updated) and than supported them again. Republicans are all over subsidies, tax breaks and land giveaways – don’t laugh, all to create jobs – but think it is downright immoral to provide American families and workers a safety net, you know, in case things do not go as planned.