The debt limit has been reached. The President should be demanding a "clean" debt ceiling bill instead of letting hostage-takers force negotiations over their ransom. For deficit reduction the "People's Budget" is the right approach. It's the budget that polls show the majority of the public wants, but the media and Washington elite are ignoring.
Just this week we heard that America's richest 400 taxpayers averaged $270.5 million of income each last year but paid only 18.1 percent of their total incomes in federal income tax. (In 1955 the top 400 paid 51.2 percent of their total incomes in taxes. No wonder we didn't have huge-ass budget deficits then.) And this is at the same time that Republicans are trying to turn Medicare into a voucher program, saying "We're broke."
As pointed out for us in this morning's Progressive Breakfast (sign up here and get it every morning), Robert Reich, in "The Battle is Squared, and Why We Need Budget Jujitsu",
Technically, the federal government has now reached the limit of its capacity to borrow money.
Raising the debt ceiling used to be a technical adjustment, made almost automatically. Now it's a political football.
Democrats should never have agreed to linking it to an agreement on the long-term budget deficit.
But, being the Democrats we have come to know and love, they did, and here we are. Where can we go from here?
We can reduce the long-term budget deficit, keep everything Americans truly depend on, and also increase spending on education and infrastructure — by cutting unnecessary military expenditures, ending corporate welfare, and raising taxes on the rich.
I commend to you the People's Budget, a detailed plan for doing exactly this – while reducing the long-term budget deficit more than either the Republican's or the President's plan does. When I read through the People's Budget my first thought was how modest and reasonable it is.
A reasonable budget that would have been called "centrist" not long ago. The public supports the approach.
The message from the "People's Party" should be unconditional: No cuts in Medicare and Medicaid or Social Security. More spending on education and infrastructure. Pay for it and reduce the long-term budget deficit by cutting military spending and raising taxes on the rich. the People's Budget is the template.
Reich said it all for me...
The People's Budget
The Progressive Caucus -- a group of progressives in the Congress -- have put together a budget that fixes the deficit and grows the economy, providing jobs. It is called the PEOPLE'S Budget Plan.
Read the plan at: Congressional Progressive Caucus : FY2012 Progressive Budget,
The CPC proposal:
• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021
• Puts America back to work with a "Make it in America" jobs program
• Protects the social safety net
• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• Is FAIR (Fixing America's Inequality Responsibly)
What the proposal accomplishes:
• Primary budget balance by 2014.
• Budget surplus by 2021.
• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.
• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.
• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.
Rep. Mike Honda and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva explain, in "The Only Real Democratic Budget: Why Progressives Have the Answer to What the American Public Wants",
Budgets are more than collections of numbers. They are a statement of our values. The Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget is a reflection of the values and priorities of America's working families. the People's Budget charts a path that keeps America exceptional in the 21st century, while addressing the most pressing problems facing the nation today. Our Budget eliminates the deficit, stabilizes the debt, puts Americans back to work, and restores our economic competiveness.
[. . .]
Our Budget listens to what the American people are telling us. It does all of the above in a fiscally responsible way that dramatically reduces our borrowing from banks and foreign governments and ensures our long-term economic competitiveness.
Our Budget Eliminates the Deficit by 2021: The CPC budget eliminates the deficit in a way that does not devastate what Americans want preserved, specifically, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. ...
Our Budget Puts America Back to Work & Restores America's Competitiveness: The CPC budget rebuilds America and makes it competitive again. We put America back to work. We rebuild our roads and bridges, ensuring that those who use it help pay for it. ...
Our Budget's Fair Tax System: The CPC budget implements a fair tax system, based on the American notion that fairness and equality are integral to our society. ...
Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home: The CPC budget responsibly ends our wars, currently paid for by American taxpayer dollars we do not have. ...
Our Budget's Bottom Line (Over 10 year Window)
• Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
• Primary spending cuts of $869 billion
• Net interest savings of $856 billion
• Total spending cuts: $1.7 trillion
• Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
• Public investment of $1.7 trillion
• Budget surplus of $30.7 billion in 2021, debt at 64.1% of GDP.