You'd think there would be an alternative to Ryanism and austerity -- and, as it turns out, there is! But you wouldn't know it from reading/watching the mainstream media. The "Budget for All" has just been introduced by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), and I can count on the fingers of one hand how many articles have been written about it. (on my left hand, because they're all from lefty blogs, of course). The New York Times, with the exception of Paul Krugman, has always faithfully ignored all things CPC. According to my Google search, the only print outlet to cover it has been the San Jose Mercury News . And that is only because local Congressman Mike Honda happens to be the author of the CPC budget proposal. Said Honda to his hometown paper:
"Ryan's bill sort of grips everybody around the neck -- he's going for the jugular," Honda said. "Only the upper 1 or 2 percent and oil companies, those who've enjoyed the benefits of Republican leadership, will continue to do so. "We, on the other hand, are trying to keep our finger on the pulse."You can read the progressive budget proposal in its entirety here. Meanwhile, the CPC has released a summary:
Our Budget Puts Americans Back to Work
Our budget attacks America’s persistently high unemployment levels with more than $2.4 trillion in job-creating investments. This plan utilizes every tool at the government’s disposal to get our economy moving again, including:
• Direct hire programs that create a School Improvement Corps, a Park Improvement Corps, and a Student Jobs Corps, among others.
• Targeted tax incentives that spur clean energy, manufacturing, and cutting-edge technological investments in the private sector.
• Widespread domestic investments including an infrastructure bank, a $556 billion surface transportation bill, and approximately $1.7 trillion in widespread domestic investment.
Our Budget Exhibits Fiscal Discipline
• Unlike the Republican budget, the Budget for All substantially reduces the deficit, and does so in a way that does not devastate what Americans want preserved.
• We achieve these notable benchmarks by focusing on the true drivers of our deficit – unsustainable tax policies, the wars overseas, and policies that helped cause the recent recession – rather than putting the middle class’s social safety net on the chopping block.
Our Budget Creates a Fairer America
• Ends tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans on schedule at year’s end
• Extends tax relief for middle class households and the vast majority of Americans
• Creates new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, in line with the Buffett Rule principle
• Eliminates the tax code’s preferential treatment of capital gains and dividends
• Abolishes corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies
• Eliminates loopholes that allow businesses to dodge their true tax liability
• Creates a publicly funded federal election system that gets corporate money out of politics for good
Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home
• Responsibly and expeditiously ends our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving America more secure at home and abroad
• Adapts our military to address 21st century threats; through modernization, the Department of Defense will spend less and stop contributing to our deficit problems
Protects American Families
• Provides a Making Work Pay tax credit for families struggling with high gas and food cost 2013-2015
• Extends Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit
• Invests in programs to stave off further foreclosures to keep families in their homes
• Invests in our children’s education by increasing Education, Training, and Social Services
Pretty radical, huh? Not particularly -- this budget from the "progressive" caucus might have been put forth by moderate Republicans back in the day. And it actually contains some neoliberal stuff that makes me cringe -- for example, that vague line about "adapting our military to address 21st century threats" sounds suspiciously like a tacit approval of the Obama Doctrine: over the horizon drone strikes and targeted assassinations which are not only fiscally responsible -- they're kept secret.
So, when do you think the White House will be giving this proposal so much as a glance or a mention? Don't hold your breath.
You see, Paul Ryan and his draconian budget are useful idiots. His Road to Doom is so extreme that it gives the Conserva-Dems the cover they need to negotiate from the right themselves and thus continue to serve their real masters without us noticing. Ryan goes for the quick kill by handing old people a check for a few grand and instructing them to shop around for crappy health insurance. The Democrats will more gradually cull older people from the population by raising the Medicare age to 67 and adjusting Social Security cost of living increases and reducing home heating assistance.
The Beltway Bozos, if they even bothered to read the CPC proposals, might notice that it balances the budget more quickly than Paul Ryan's plan (assuming that Ryan's plan is based on facts, which it isn't). The trouble is, the progressive method of balancing the budget involves stopping wars, reining in Wall Street to some extent and protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And since those ideas are just not in the best interests of the One Percent, neither can they provide any benefit to the political puppets in either faction of the Money Party and their corporate-sponsored media stooges.