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Stop the Madness | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Stop the Madness

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) --nearly one-third of the Democratic Caucus with 71 members--has challenged a Bush budget that would continue to drain our treasury through increased spending on the Iraq disaster while making tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent.

"Based on the budget that President Bush has sent to Congress it seems that the only priorities he values are cutting taxes on the wealthiest among us, and escalating his disastrous Iraq policy," said CPC co-Chair, Representative Lynn Woolsey.

In a statement issued on behalf of caucus members today, CPC co-chairs – Representatives Barbara Lee and Woolsey – noted that the Bush budget request of $392 billion for domestic, non-military discretionary spending in FY08 doesn't even keep pace with inflation. Meanwhile, the military budget would balloon to $481 billion – an 11 percent increase – not including the $200 billion in requested spending in Iraq over the next 2 years.

The CPC proposes a fairer, saner, and more humane budget that would provide at least $450 billion in domestic, non-military discretionary spending – a figure representing the funding level in FY05 and also adjusted for inflation. Repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans alone – as the CPC favors – would raise at least $348 billion in revenues. (Deborah Weinstein, director of the Coalition on Human Needs, points out in a recent post that "the difference between $450 billion and the president's proposal is nearly made up by the 2008 cost of the Bush tax cuts for millionaires alone--$55 billion.") Additionally, a CPC budget would reduce the Bush defense budget request by $68.7 billion to $412.7 billion in FY08. (And also save at least $187 billion in the next two years by bringing our troops home in 2007.)

Other critical aspects of the CPC budget include: raising tens of billions of dollars in revenues by curbing corporate welfare and collecting underreported and delinquent taxes; savings of at least $60 billion per year by eliminating obsolete Cold War weaponry and implementing GAO recommendations to stop Defense Department waste, fraud and abuse; and increasing funding for Hurricane Katrina recovery, renewable energy development, education, health care and Veterans' health care, community development and policing, housing, food and nutrition programs, and child care.

In a letter to Representative John Spratt, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Lee and Woolsey summarized, "For the good of our country, we need a federal budget that points our nation in a fundamentally fairer and more responsible direction."

At least some Dems are listening to voters who spoke so clearly in November – and pursuing a true alternative to the continuing course of soulless budgets offered by a failed President.

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