The struggle over the budget is not either/or, it is a three-way race with the third entrant getting no respect. “What I see is a three-way tussle among the rich, the not very rich and the not rich at all over who should pay the costs of balancing the budget” – that is the Republicans vs the Democrats vs the People, and the People aren't being asked to dance – just to pay the band.
So what is the latest? The Senate's 'Gang of Six' (so essentially we are acknowledging that we have now become serfs and are being controlled by a few select oligaracy - where is the outrage?) and has ridden to the rescue – hide the silverware. Just whose rescue seems unclear, but mostly the usual suspects make out and the usual marks pay the bill. It starts with $500 billion in actual cuts, in exchange for which the debt ceiling gets raised, the bond market is happy and stock markets go wild. It includes a promise of $3.7 trillion in cuts over the next ten years – but doesn't really specify anything much except that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security get
But what do WE THE PEOPLE want?
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in late February found that 81 percent of people would support a surtax on millionaires to help reduce the budget deficit. A Pew Research Center poll in late May found that 66 percent favored raising income tax rates on those making more than $250,000 and 67 percent raising the wage cap for Social Security taxes.
Do you here any politician talking about that? But there are alternatives.
Consider a largely invisible proposal for balancing the budget, the People’s Budget, released in April by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which includes 83 members of Congress.
Its proposed budget savings include major cuts to military spending based on immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Its proposed revenue sources include new tax brackets for the rich (from 45 percent on income over a million dollars a year to 49 percent on income over a billion a year), restoring the estate tax and eliminating the Bush tax cuts.
The Economic Policy Institute provides a more detailed supportive analysis. Proponents have also developed a three-way comparison with budget proposals advocated by President Obama and Congressional Republicans that allows you to register your own preference.
Deficit hawks (at least those who are not tax chickens) should welcome the People’s Budget, because it offers a plausible path to debt reduction.
Matt Miller of The Washington Post noted that the People’s Budget would, unlike the Roadmap for America’s Future advanced by Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, generate a budget surplus at a predictable point in the future, winning the “fiscal responsibility derby.”
The progressive tax policies endorsed by the People’s Budget have drawn remarkably strong support in public opinion polls, suggesting that the views of our most powerful elected officials don’t accurately reflect the views of the electorate.
Empirical support for the view that sharp, immediate cuts in government spending would be good for the U.S. economy was never strong, and it’s getting weaker. The Economist is on the case, highlighting two new studies showing that austerity and growth don’t mix in the short term. ...
House Republicans will not consider any form of tax increase, even changes in loop-holes that serve primarily the rich.In short, the more closely you look at the evidence for the claim that cutting federal spending dramatically right now would be good for the economy, the less convincing that claim becomes.
I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes and am appalled at the greed of corporations and many of the uber-rich. How much is enough?