This week has been a rough week for the global economy. The stock market fell dramatically. S&P downgraded the U.S.’s credit rating from AAA, its highest rating, to AA+ for the first time in history. The Eurozone continues to be in trouble with Spain and Greece possibly needing a bailout. In addition, London, and other parts of Great Britain, experienced days of violent riots, fueled by grievances over police racism, austerity, inequality, and the growing economic suffering of Britain’s poor and working masses. Certainly not a good week.
In the midst of this turmoil, there is a budget proposal that alleviates America’s economic malaise. That proposal is called “The People’s Budget” and is authored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. It reduces the deficit by $5.6 trillion over ten years, more than the recently-passed debt deal’s reduction. It also increases revenue by $3.9 trillion. It accomplishes this by: ending the Bush tax cuts and raising taxes on the rich; closing tax loopholes for multinational corporations; “eliminates corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies”; enacts a healthcare public option; protects Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; ends the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and cuts defense spending; and “invests in job creation, clean energy and broadband infrastructure, housing and R&D programs” (click here for full proposal and here for Economic Policy Institute’s technical analysis, quotes are from summary). Public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans favor cutting defense spending significantly, raising taxes on the rich, and creating more jobs, which puts the People’s Budget in line with what the public wants. Not only would the People’s Budget reduce the deficit, it could get America out of the recession since it tackles unemployment.
Even though the People’s Budget significantly reduces the deficit, raises revenue, could get America out of the recession and is in line with what the public wants then why was it not discussed during the debt ceiling debate? Or, better yet, why has it not been discussed at all? The Rachel Maddow Show, The Washington Post’s Matt Miller, The Economist, economist and New York times columnist Paul Krugman, Rolling Stone, and Forbes all praised the People’s Budget. Yet, this was not enough to influence the entire debate. Why is this?
Matt Miller, appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show, made a good point about the media’s lack of coverage of the People’s Budget:
“…the basic mode of coverage, I think, is that the establishment press acts as stenographers to power. And you have a mainstream Democratic position, obviously represented by the President. And you have the opposition represented by Paul Ryan. And that sort of defines what the boundaries of debate are going to be because the media faithfully reflects those two polls of debate. So if you’re coming from outside those polls or, in this case, you know what’s interesting about the Progressive Caucus is they’re more fiscally conservative than the current debate but they’re more socially liberal in terms of the investments they make in education, in infrastructure, in jobs, and they’re more progressive in terms of what they’re doing on upper-income earners in the tax code. Because they’re not the official spokesmen of the party like the President is, they tend to get ignored and so I think they would have to be a little more creative, publicity-wise, to get attention for their ideas.”
But it goes deeper than how the media covers it.
If the debate was really about cutting the deficit, there would have been a strong focus on tackling the recession and unemployment because that is one of the primary drivers of the debt, in addition to fighting multiple wars. Plus, the recession is causing widespread economic misery for millions of people, which is why the public is concerned about jobs. The People’s Budget addresses this. However, the debate ignored this and focused on cutting government spending to alleviate the long-term debt problem. The interesting thing is that the final debt deal actually does not cut the deficit as much as the People’s Budget does and will lose the country 1.8 million jobs. If they were so concerned about cutting the deficit, they should have swiftly passed the People’s Budget will little discussion. So one has to wonder — is America’s political leadership incredibly stupid or do they have other things in mind?
As Matt Miller pointed out on The Rachel Maddow Show, the People’s Budget is “more socially liberal in terms of investments they make in education, in infrastructure, in jobs, and they’re more progressive in terms of what they’re doing on upper-income earners in the tax code.” In other words, the People’s Budget raises taxes on rich people, while making investments that benefit the majority of poor and middle-class people. So the rich have to make sacrifices for everyone else. Considering how much rich people and multinational corporations influence Congress, the Presidency, and even the Supreme Court, it shouldn’t be a surprise why a plan like this would not be up for discussion. It hurts the people who control the government.
This is what the silence about the People’s Budget reveals. Any plan that does not help the very rich, big banks, and multinational corporations will not be taken seriously by the political class or their loyal stenographers in the media. Even if the plan satisfies what the political elites claim they are concerned about, like lowering the deficit. If a plan significantly lowers the deficit but raises taxes on rich people and ends corporate welfare, as the People’s Budget does, then it will be shut out of discussion or attacked by the status quo. The best way to combat this is for people to raise awareness about the People’s Budget and pressure Congress and the President to enact it. It’s not a radical solution but it gets the country on the right track.
Last Wednesday, Dylan Ratigan went on an epic rant about how deep corruption is within the American political system. It ties into this issue and is definitely worth watching.
August 13, 2011 at 11:49 am
( http://my.firedoglake.com/iflizwerequeen/2011/05/16/how-about-a-little-truth-about-what-the-majority-want-for-health-care/ )
( Gov. Peter Shumlin: Real Healthcare reform — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yFUbkVCsZ4 )
( Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator — http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html )
( Briefing: Dean Baker on Boosting the Economy by Saving Healthcare http://t.co/fmVz8nM )
As you all know. Had congress passed a single-payer or government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one, our economy and jobs would have taken off like a rocket. And still will. Single-payer would be best. But a government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! that can lead to a single-payer system is the least you can accept. It’s not about competing with for-profit healthcare and for-profit health insurance. It’s about replacing it with Universal Healthcare Assurance. Everyone knows this now.
The message from the midterm elections was clear. The American people want real healthcare reform. They want that individual mandate requiring them to buy private health insurance abolished. And they want a government-run robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. And they want it now.
They want Drug re-importation, and abolishment, or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. They want back control of their healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. And they want it NOW!
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL NOT, AND MUST NOT, ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.
For-profit health insurance is extremely unethical, and morally repugnant. It’s as morally repugnant as slavery was. And few if any decent Americans are going to allow them-self to be compelled to support such an unethical and immoral crime against humanity.
This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.
Further, we want that corrupt, undemocratic filibuster abolished. Whats the point of an election if one corrupt member of congress can block the will of the people, and any legislation the majority wants. And do it in secret. Give me a break people.
Also, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.
Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.
Republicans: GET RID OF THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.
Democrats: ADD A ROBUST GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION TO HEALTHCARE REFORM.
This is what the American people are shouting at you. Both parties have just enough power now to do what the American people want. GET! IT! DONE! NOW!
If congress does not abolish the individual mandate. And establish a government-run public option CHOICE! before the end of 2011. EVERY! member of congress up for reelection in 2012 will face strong progressive pro public option, and anti-individual mandate replacement candidates.
Strong progressive pro “PUBLIC OPTION” CHOICE! and anti-individual mandate volunteer candidates should begin now. And start the process of replacing any and all members of congress that obstruct, or fail to add a government-run robust PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! before the end of 2011.
We need two or three very strong progressive volunteer candidates for every member of congress that will be up for reelection in 2012. You should be fully prepared to politically EVISCERATE EVERY INCUMBENT that fails or obstructs “THE PUBLIC OPTION”. And you should be willing to step aside and support the strongest pro “PUBLIC OPTION” candidate if the need arises.
ASSUME CONGRESS WILL FAIL and SELLOUT again. So start preparing now to CUT THEIR POLITICAL THROATS. You can always step aside if they succeed. But only if they succeed. We didn’t have much time to prepare before these past midterm elections. So the American people had to use a political shotgun approach. But by 2012 you will have a scalpel.
Congress could have passed a robust government-run public option during it’s lame duck session. They knew what the American people wanted. They already had several bills on record. And the house had already passed a public option. Departing members could have left with a truly great accomplishment. And the rest of you could have solidified your job before the 2012 elections.
President Obama, you promised the American people a strong public option available to everyone. And the American people overwhelmingly supported you for it. Maybe it just wasn’t possible before. But it is now.
Knock heads. Threaten people. Or do whatever you have to. We will support you. But get us that robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one before the end of 2011. Or We The People Of The United States will make the past midterm election look like a cake walk in 2012. And it will include you.
We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. They have already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.
Spread the word people.
Progressives, prepare the American peoples scalpels. It’s time to remove some politically diseased tissues.
God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.
See you on the battle field.
jacksmith – WorkingClass 🙂