The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) People’s Budget—the strongest rebuke to the Robin Hood in reverse “Ryan Budget” that was passed by the best Republican House Citizens United can buy—is receiving some well deserved national attention as the budget debate now moves to the Senate.
The Nation immediately recognized the sense and sanity of the progressive plan to create a budget surplus in ten years–through tax fairness, bringing troops home, and investing in job creation, and others are now praising its strengths too.
“The Courageous Progressive Caucus Budget,” writes The Economist. “Mr. Ryan has been fulsomely praised for his courage. The Progressive Caucus has not. I’m not really sure what ‘courage’ is supposed to mean here, but this seems precisely backwards.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman describes the People’s Budget as “the only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget… unlike the Ryan plan, which was just right-wing orthodoxy with an added dose of magical thinking—[it] is genuinely courageous because it calls for shared sacrifice.”
While a Democratic Senate won’t pass this budget, with some savvy and organized pressure from the grassroots and outside groups it could push its principles during the upcoming debate on the budget and debt ceiling, and an expected deficit reduction package from the “Gang of Six”.
For example, closing tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas, eliminating oil and gas subsidies, ending our wars abroad, taxing the mega-rich—these are true centrist policies, reflecting mainstream views. While embracing these good ideas might do damage to some Senators’ corporate campaign contributions, it could pay off at the polls (and strengthen our democracy, which ideally would be more than a peripheral consideration for our legislators).
“The public wants job creation, tax fairness, strong retirement protections and deficit reduction—none of that is in dispute,” Representative Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the CPC, told me. “The People’s Budget has been embraced by the public and the economic community. All the Senate has to do now is lead by following. Anyone who takes a serious look around the country sees the need for a fair budget that lifts us all up together. The People’s Budget fits the bill and needs to be considered.”