On Tuesday, we at the National Priorities Project released our fourth annual, one-of-a-kind Competing Visions analysis, which compares the president's fiscal year 2015 budget proposal to two significantly different visions – the House Republican budget resolution, introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan, and an alternative introduced by the House Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).
Our analysis highlights the top issues that matter most to Americans and, using opinion polls, shows how each proposal stacks up against what Americans want.
It's clear that some lawmakers' visions are out of step with the priorities of the American public on key issues such as job creation, education, and tax loopholes.
A few of the areas where the three proposed budgets offer very different paths for the nation include:
- On job creation, 74 percent of Americans say restoring the job market is a top priority facing Congress and the president in 2014.
- The CPC "Better Off Budget" proposes a substantial $1.3 trillion for job creation initiatives over the next 10 years, such as public works and infrastructure investments and aid to the 50 states.
- President Obama's budget provides $143 billion for job creation over the next decade mostly by investing in infrastructure.
- Rep. Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" budget proposal does not propose any funding for job creation.
- Opinion polls show that investing in domestic initiatives such as education, energy and the environment, job training, and other programs remain top priorities for Americans.
- The CPC budget would prevent sequestration cuts to domestic programs and add substantial additional funding.
- President Obama would prevent sequestration cuts to domestic programs and add a small amount of additional funding.
- The Ryan budget would allow sequestration cuts to domestic programs and would go on to make additional cuts totaling $791 billion over the next 10 years, or cuts of nearly 20 percent in addition to sequestration.
- On taxes, 67 percent of Americans want to see corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay more in taxes as a result of fewer tax breaks.
- The CPC budget increases the taxes paid by corporations and the wealthiest Americans by reducing corporate tax breaks, adding several new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and limiting deductions top earners can claim.
- The president would also limit deductions for top earners and impose a "Buffett Rule," which requires millionaires to pay no less than 30 percent of their income in taxes every year.
- The Ryan budget would reduce taxes paid by top earners and corporations by lowering their tax rates. He would also reduce tax breaks in the tax code but does not provide detail on which ones.
The essential vision of our democracy is that the federal budget will reflect the values of a majority of Americans. Like what you see in any of these budgets – or don't? Make your voice heard, because no matter your priority – whether it be health care, education programs, or environmental protection – the federal budget affects you.
For our complete analysis of these proposals, check out Competing Visions.