Last week, House Republicans released their social safety net destroying budget, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which they plan to bring to the floor for a vote this week. The budget includes trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and would undermine the still fragile economic recovery.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus yesterday released its own budget — called The Budget for All — which lays out a very different path. Here are the highlights:
– Achieves lower deficits and debt than the House Republican budget, President Obama’s budget or current policy, reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio to 62 percent by 2022.
– Includes $2.9 trillion in job creation measures, including a public works program to hire two million Americans.
– Allows the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest two percent, phasing in increases in the 28 percent and 25 percent tax brackets over the next decade as well. The budget also introduces new tax brackets for the ultra-wealthy and taxes capital gains income at the same rates as wage income.
– Institutes a financial transactions tax and a big bank tax, raising nearly $1 trillion over the next decade.
– Ends emergency war funding in 2014, and eliminates several outdated and unnecessary weapons programs.
– Institutes a public health insurance option.
– Eliminates the payroll tax cap.
– Imposes a price on carbon, rebating some of the money to middle- and lower-income families.
“Republicans say we’re headed off a cliff because of spending. Well, our budget increases funding for job training, for education, for infrastructure, for low-income and veterans housing, and we chart a much more fiscally responsible path than the Republican scheme. It’s about more than numbers on a page to us – it’s about people,” said Progressive Caucus co-chair, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
Unlike the House Republican budget, the progressive caucus’ budget does not gut important safety net programs like food stamps or Pell Grants. It also shows that a fiscally responsible budget can be crafted that still maintains a focus on job creation and economic stimulus in the short-term. This is a serious effort to grapple with the economic troubles that the country is facing, and should receive treatment as serious as that given to Ryan’s budget, over which much ink has been spilled in the last week.