22 April 2011

Whose is the fiscally responsible budget plan? Support the PEOPLE's BUDGET put forward by the Congressional Progressive Caucus

I just don't understand how the likes of Jacob Weisberg writing in Slate, and the editors of the Economist can tout the Republican Medicare Killer Budget plan as "brave" and "responsible," when, by its own numbers, it adds $6 trillion to the debt over ten years (more than in any previous decade in American history), while killing Medicare and Medicaid as we know them and slashing taxes still further for the wealthiest Americans and  big corporations. This is supposed to be fiscally responsible?

At the same time, to read the mainstream media, you'd think that the only alternative is the Centrist Democratic budget planning of the president and the so-called bipartisan "Gang of Six" in the Senate.

Nary a word about the genuinely fiscally responsible "People's Budget" being proposed by the House Progressive Caucus.

This, in fact, is the only comprehensive budget proposal that actually is fiscally responsible. Here's what it does:

• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021
• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
• Protects the social safety net
• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

What the proposal accomplishes:
• Primary budget balance by 2014
• Budget surplus by 2021
• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.4% by 2021, down 16.9 percentage points from a baseline adjusted for the "doc fix" and alternative minimum tax patch
• Reduces deficits by $5.7 trillion over 2012-21
• Both outlays and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021

The People’s Budget would balance the federal budget within a decade and place debt held by the public on a sustainable trajectory. Specifically, the budget would move to a surplus of $30.7 billion (0.1% of gross domestic product) in 2021, and debt as a share of the economy would trend downward to 64.1% of GDP in that year. The budget would reduce deficits by $5.6 trillion over the next decade relative to the CBO baseline (adjusted for current policies regarding the “doc fix” and a patch to the Alternative Minimum Tax).

The People’s Budget would finance $1.7 trillion worth of public investment over the next decade, most of which is front-loaded over the next five years. The budget would strengthen Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable earnings. The budget also would accrue health savings of $308 billion over the next decade, primarily by creating a public option for health insurance and negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare Part D.

The plan also would raise the top marginal tax rate, imposed only on the very wealthy, to 49%, still lower than it was before 1986. Taxes on most Americans would not go up.

The budget would reduce conventional and strategic military forces, for savings of $692 billion and end all emergency war supplemental appropriations for savings of $1.6 trillion. Finally, individual and corporate tax reform would ensure sufficient revenue to cover federal outlays by the end of the decade.

  [Source: Economic Policy Institute, www.epi.org]

We progressives need to rally around The People's Budget and demand that it be taken seriously, and that Democrats in Congress, including in the Senate, voice their strong support for it.

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