Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Now, THIS is How it’s Done!

Remember the Republican “Budget to Nowhere” that had exactly ONE concrete policy (if you guessed, “more tax giveaways for the rich,” go to the head of the class) and ZERO numbers?  The “alternative budget” with no details, no deficit projections,  no expenditures, etc.? The one which the independent Taxpayers for Common Sense calculated (based on the GOP plan to cut the top tax rate to 25%, TRIPLE the horrendously wasteful and irresponsible Bush tax giveaways) would lead to budget deficits of $300 billion MORE than Obama’s budget in Fiscal Year 2011 alone? That “budget proposal?” 

Well, now the Congressional Progressive Caucus has decided to show the GOP how an “alternative budget proposal” really works.  It begins with the Obama budget, works to preserve his top priorities (those the people voted for: healthcare, education investment, green energy, economic recovery & justice), but works to turn the huge Bush deficits around faster by even more responsible taxation policies and by gutting waste.  Below is the letter from the Progressive Caucus which highlights their proposals. It’s not a full budget because they begin with the Obama budget and modify only as needed–but still has more real numbers than anything the Party of No Ideas offered.

Dear Colleague:As our nation faces enormous challenges from the foreclosure crisis, the financial meltdown, increased unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, lack of health care, rising poverty numbers, and underfunded schools, we must have a bold budget that rises to meet these challenges. That’s why the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will once again introduce a full budget alternative to be considered on the House floor during consideration of the budget.

The CPC budget supports President Obama’s priorities and addresses our national needs by increasing spending where it’s needed most, rebalancing the tax code to be more equitable, and cutting wasteful spending, especially within the Department of Defense.

CPC Budget cuts and revenue raisers highlights:

· Elimination of unneeded, unwanted, and unproven Cold War Era weapons systems ( Savings of $60 billion/year ); [This would undoubtedly include cutting the failed Star Wars “missile defense program.”MLW-W]

· Elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse at DOD. ( Savings of $8.7 billion/year);

· Redeployment of all U.S. troops and military contractors out of Iraq (Savings of$90 billion); [This speeds up Obama’s ending of the Iraq War.  MLW-W]

· Repeal of Bush tax breaks for the top 1% of taxpayers ($222 billion more revenue per year); [Obama’s budget merely lets the Bush tax giveaways expire in 2011. This would repeal them this year.MLW-W]

· Instituting “Make Wall Street Pay For Wall Street’s Bailout” tax of .25% on all stock transactions ($150 billion/year additional revenue per year);

· Closing egregious corporate tax loopholes ($100 billion/year);  and

· Cap on tax deductibility of excessive executive compensation ($20 billion/year).

CPC Budget investment highlights:

· Provides $991 billion for non-military discretionary spending in FY10, $469 billion above President Obama’s request, primarily to help rescue the faltering U.S. economy and those Americans hardest hit;

· Provides $479 billion as sufficient defense spending level; [Considering that the U.S. spends more on “defense” than the next 15 nations COMBINED and that the Center for Defense Information estimates that we could our defense budget by 50% without lowering our real defense capabilities at ALL, this is surely “sufficient.” MLW-W]

· Provides a strong economic stimulus package of $300 billion that includes an extension of unemployment insurance, an increase in assistance for food stamps, transportation infrastructure, school construction, water and flood control projects;  [Good. We need a 2nd stimulus since the first was too small. Obama’s people are probably right that the stimulus package will create 3.5 million jobs over 2 years, but we have already lost more than 5 million jobs. So, we need a second stimulus and putting it in the budget is the way to do it. MLW-W]

· Provides $120 billion a year for health care for all Americans; and

· Provides $1.22 trillion to cut the poverty rate in half over the next decade.

The CPC Budget ensures that the down payment made by H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will not be a one time investment, but rather a starting point from which the American economy makes a defined turning point that will ensure a prosperous 21st Century for all Americans. …

Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA) Co-Chair

Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) Co-Chair


This is a good beginning.  I would unilaterally cut 10% of our nuclear weapons which not only saves us money,  but jump starts the renewed work toward a nuclear-free world.  I’d lift the cap on Social Security contributions, thereby making it solvent into perpetuity.  I’d restore the windfall profits tax and the capital gains tax. I’d institute a .05 per gallon gas tax that would be channeled directly toward public transportation. (Once the economy recovers, that gas tax should be raised  to get gas prices to $4 per gallon–the price at which Americans stop wanting large gas guzzlers and want fuel-efficient cars. I’d do that now if people were not hurting so much.)

People can debate various aspects of a budget.  But what is irresponsible is to propose a “budget” that gives no real fiscal details and only keeps repeating the past policy failures (“tax giveaways for the wealthy”)–and hoping that no one notices.


April 1, 2009 - Posted by | economic justice

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