Today, I was shocked to see a budget proposal from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. When I looked at it, I expected to see large tax and spending increases, but still even more deficit spending. However, what I saw was the opposite: I saw a budget that would balance the budget even sooner than the other proposals, and I saw a budget that would preserve American government programs and create a path to things that our country needs: jobs, education and better health care, among others.The budget will create an actual budget surplus by 2021, and eliminate the deficit in just ten years. Paul Ryan’s proposal would only balance the budget twenty years after that, and his had to resort to draconian cuts to Medicare and other necessary programs. You can probably expect that the Progressive Budget, or the “People’s Budget”, as it is called, gets most of its deficit reducation funds from taxes. It does. It calls for an end to the Bush-era tax cuts, higher taxes on millionaries, a progressive estate tax, and higher taxes on capital gains and dividends. These taxes mean that those who managed to benefit most from government investment put more money back in for investment. However, there are no draconian tax increases on the 98% of the American population that is not rich. Those hard-working Americans will continue to pay reasonable tax rates, but will also have the security of a balanced budget and government investment and social programs. The budget’s spending cuts are almost entirely related to the military, spending for which has grown too high. America must reconsider its role as the “international policeman” and must instead share responsibility for global conflict resolution and peacekeeping with other nations and organizations. The budget also calls for a public option to be added to health care, which will reduce future medical spending by hundreds of billions of dollars by keeping costs under control. One need only look at college tuition costs to see what happens when prices are left to rise unchecked. Finally, the budget calls for greater investment by the government. It includes significant increases in funding for education and training programs such as Head Start and ESEA. It provides greater funds for research, both in health through the NIH and for green energy. The budget provides more money and services for the less fortunate in society, and it provides more funding for programs such as food stamps, TANF, LIHEAP and public housing programs. These investments are critical to ensuring that nobody slips through the cracks in society, and that all Americans are able to get ahead in the competitive future before us. This budget proposal is not perfect. However, it is much better than the ones proposed by Paul Ryan and President Obama. It fixes the budget sooner, provides greater investment in our future, and it would work wonders on reducing the ever-rising gap between rich and poor in this country. Although this budget will almost certainly not be passed by the Republican-controlled House, it should serve as a rallying call for all progressives, and for all true Americans, across the country.
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