Friday, 18 March 2016 00:00

A Progressive Answer to the GOP’s Regressive Budget

Written by Rep. John Conyers | The Huffington Post

A federal budget is a statement about our society’s values.

If you believe in this notion as I do, there’s a conclusion we can’t help but reach: The GOP’s new House budget proposal makes some troubling assertions about what’s right and wrong.

In a time of unprecedented retirement income insecurity and student debt, the GOP budget cuts funding for the elderly, the ill, and students in order to boost bloated Pentagon budgets, offer tax giveaways to the wealthiest Americans, and protect corporate welfare for multinational firms that ship American jobs overseas.

While this troubling budget plan will likely win approval in the GOP-led House of Representatives, the regressive proposals it contains have little chance of making it past President Obama’s desk.

But we have a bigger task than blocking the conservatives’ backward march. Our task is to present and implement our own positive progressive vision that elevates the interests of jobs, justice, and peace.

This week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) presented just such an actionable vision.

By strengthening the safety net and investing in 21st-century infrastructure, manufacturing, education, and environmental protection, the CPC’s “People’s Budget” will create 8.4 million new jobs and give low- and moderate-income Americans a much-needed raise.

The CPC budget focuses like a laser on achieving full employment. This is essential because, though the official headline unemployment statistics show the jobless rate at 5.5 percent, more than 20 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or unwillingly out of the labor force. Taking all these factors into account, the real unemployment rate is closer to 13 percent. In both rural and urban pockets of the country, including my hometown of Detroit, the rate is closer to 25 percent. The investments in the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget will boost employment while addressing the most pressing challenges of our time: repairing America’s rapidly aging roads and bridges, upgrading our energy systems to address climate change and adapt to its impacts, keeping our communities safe, and preparing our young people to thrive as citizens and workers.

By restoring full employment, the People’s Budget addresses the persistent problem of stagnant wages, ensuring that working people have the purchasing power needed to sustain balanced economic growth. The last time our country achieved full employment — under the Clinton administration in the late 1990s — workers across the country gained the power to bargain for higher wages, and working families’ share of the nation’s income rose precipitously.

It’s important to note that the Progressive Caucus budget achieves all this without breaking the bank. By cutting excessive Pentagon spending, enacting fair marginal tax rates for millionaires and billionaires, equalizing the tax treatment of capital income and labor income, making the estate tax more progressive, abolishing inefficient corporate tax loopholes, putting a fee on too-big-to-fail banks, and enacting a tax on Wall Street transactions, our proposal expands safety net programs like Medicare while reducing the nation’s deficits. The budget’s tax proposals are sound ways to not only raise revenue but restore fairness in our economy. It’s unconscionable that, in the 21st century, a major multinational firm like GE could pay no federal tax, or that a billionaire like Warren Buffett could enjoy a lower marginal tax rate than his secretary.

If we believe that budgets are “moral documents,” then the dueling budgets released this week present a remarkable contrast in values. Having served in Congress for the past half-century, I can say with authority that the values that define this country are not “survival of the fittest” and “winner takes all.”

The values our budget should reflect are the values that the Reverend Martin Luther King spoke of 50 years ago and that the People’s Budget reflects today: jobs, justice, and peace.

Link to original article from The Huffington Post

Read 10218 times

Latest News

  • How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. +

    How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. Read More
  • How One Dying Man Changed The Debate About The Tax Bill +

    How One Dying Man Changed The Debate About The Tax Bill What mattered was that he showed up — that he put himself in front of the people whose opinions on Read More
  • Democrats Just Won a Major Victory in Virginia +

    Democrats Just Won a Major Victory in Virginia On a night of Democratic victories, one of the most significant wins came in Virginia, where the party held onto Read More
  • Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. +

    Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. A seismic political battle that could send shockwaves all the way to the White House was launched last week in Read More
  • Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? +

    Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? In an interview with Reuters conducted a month after he took office, Donald Trump asserted that the U.S. had “fallen Read More
  • Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy +

    Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed Read More
  • Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors +

    Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against Read More
  • Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump +

    Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump The CODEPINK Tribunal taking place December 1 and 2, and live streamed by The Real News, is a historic collection of testimonies about the lies Read More
  • Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents +

    Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents The ongoing crisis has left the city without safe drinking water for over two years, but the state claims water Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Jobs for All Videos



Featured Jobs for All News

  • The Era of Outsourcing is Over +

    The Era of Outsourcing is Over During the campaign, Donald Trump made a 100 percent commitment to prevent United Technologies from shipping 2,100 jobs from Indiana Read More
  • A Subsidized Jobs Program for the 21st Century +

    A Subsidized Jobs Program for the 21st Century Unlocking Labor-Market Opportunities for All Who Seek Work Read More
  • Federal mediator to help resolve West Coast port contract dispute +

    Federal mediator to help resolve West Coast port contract dispute West Coast dockworkers and their shipping line employers have agreed to federal mediation to help resolve a contract dispute that Read More
  • The Answer to the Unemployment Problem Is More Jobs +

    The Answer to the Unemployment Problem Is More Jobs Dean Baker, everyone’s favorite progressive economist (mine, too), has an interesting take on our unemployment problem. Give more paid vacations. Read More
  • Full employment: The recovery’s missing ingredient +

    Full employment: The recovery’s missing ingredient Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen gave a speech a few weeks ago that was doubly unusual. Read More
  • Young people's voice needed in building an infrastructure of opportunity +

    Young people's voice needed in building an infrastructure of opportunity This week the Durham, North Carolina-based nonprofit MDC released its latest State of the South report highlighting how the American Read More
  • The Full Employment Act at 35: America's Unfinished Business +

    The Full Employment Act at 35: America's Unfinished Business For the first time since the start of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate is below 6 percent. America has Read More
  • The Need for Jobs and Economic Equality +

    The Need for Jobs and Economic Equality Wealth and resources are not infinite; they are finite! Therefore, if some have too much, many others are left with Read More
  • Conyers & Congressional Advocates Announce Creation of Full Employment Caucus +

    Conyers & Congressional Advocates Announce Creation of Full Employment Caucus Today, in response to the ongoing jobs crisis in America, Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), Charles Rangel Read More
  • 1
  • 2