Protect Social Security and Medicare, raise taxes on the wealthiest, create middle class jobs -- who could be against those things? The Congressional Progressive Caucus announced today a set of "http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/hot-topics/cpc-commits-to-deal-for-all-ahead-of-fiscal-cliff1/" principles that take a stand "against any plan that benefits the richest two percent of Americans at everyone else's expense." Democrats running for Congress should make this their campaign theme.
The Fiscal Cliff
After the election there is going to be a big fight over the expiring Bush tax cuts, and the scheduled "sequestration" that cuts the military budget and other government spending.
The plutocrats (who at other times claim to be for deficit reduction) are calling this "the fiscal cliff" in an attempt to whip up a crisis "shock doctrine" atmosphere. They hope to stampede the Congress into yet another 1%er deal, or "Grand Bargain."
The "bargain," of course, is to cut the things government does for We, the People in exchange for cutting the taxes that the rich pay even more.
The Deal for All -- A Framework for Bargaining
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) discussing a "Deal for All" today:
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said at the beginning the press conference: "An all-cuts deal will not be acceptable... We can not cut our way out of the deficit, we have to grow our way out of it, that means investing in America's infrastructure."
The Deal for All -- now House Resolution 733 -- outlines the Congressional Progressive Caucus' basic principles for resolving tax and budget issues that come up after the November election. They will serve as a framework for progressives during the negotiations.
These are the basic principles of the CPC Deal for All:
Note that last point -- invest in creating jobs! By investing in infrastructure we put people back to work now while making our economy more efficient and competitive for the future. It pays for itself.
Isaiah J. Poole, in "Instead of a Bad 'Grand Bargain,' Let's Make a 'Deal For All'", explains,
Their resolution calls for a "Deal for All" that would protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; contain "serious revenue increases," including corporate tax loopholes and higher tax brackets for the highest-income earners; significant reductions in defense spending; and "strong levels of job-creating Federal investments in areas such as infrastructure and education."
... The "Deal for All" stands in sharp contrast to the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan offered by the co-chairmen of President Obama's fiscal commission, Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson. That plan would, among other things, lower tax rates on the wealthiest Americans while cutting more than $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years and reducing cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.
Many Democrats are being pushed into believing that such policies are necessary to keep the government and the economy from falling over a "fiscal cliff" by the end of the year. Fortunately, some of these Democrats are pushing back, arguing that this is the time to end flawed tax policies that favored the wealthy at the expense of working-class Americans, and reject the austerity policies that we see failing miserably in Europe.
Democrats Should Run on This
You are pretty much guaranteed not to read about this in the paper or hear about it on the news. But here it is, the Deal for All, that respects what the public wants, and what economists say is best of the economy. It also happens to reflect majority opinion.
Good policy is good politics, and Democrats should run on this now, so they can fight for this after the election.
This is the text of the resolution, H. Res. 733:
"Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that any deal replacing the Budget Control Act of 2011 should contain serious revenue increases and no Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefit cuts."
RESOLUTION Expressing the sense of Congress that any deal replacing the "Budget Control Act of 2011" must contain serious revenue increases and no Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefit cuts.
Whereas the start of sequestration under the "Budget Control Act of 2011" and the expiration of the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush may lead to a deal on taxes and spending;
Whereas Medicare is a cornerstone of the American health care system and a vital part of life for more than 40 million American seniors and more than 8 million Americans with disabilities;
Whereas Medicaid provides health and long-term care services for low-income and middle-class families with family members stricken with catastrophic illness, injury, or disability, or facing prolonged infirmity;
Whereas Social Security provides vital protections for people of all ages in 1 of every 4 families, including 36 million retired workers, 8.6 million disabled workers, 6.3 million survivors of deceased workers, and 6.5 million children, and since it has $2.7 trillion in accumulated assets and no borrowing authority, does not contribute to the Federal budget deficit;
Whereas unemployment levels are still unacceptably high and federal investments in areas such as infrastructure, education, research, nutrition, housing, and services struggling Americans depend on grow the economy and create jobs;
Whereas extending the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush would increase the deficit by $3.3 trillion over ten years;
Whereas long-term unsustainable deficits pose a threat to the social safety net;
Whereas defense spending, not counting two off-budget wars, has doubled over the last decade, failing to responsibly reduce our national debt by cutting outdated defense programs and by addressing billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse;
Whereas the unbalanced "Bowles-Simpson" proposal contains unacceptable cuts of $402 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over ten years, and substantial Social Security cuts for current and future beneficiaries; and
Whereas working and middle class Americans have been working harder and harder for less and less: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that any deal on taxes and spending to replace the Budget Control Act --
(1) must not cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits;
(2) must contain serious revenue increases, including closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing individual income tax rates for the highest earners;
(3) must significantly reduce defense spending to focus our armed forces on combating 21st century risks; and
(4) must promote economic growth and expand economic opportunity by including strong levels of job-creating federal investments in areas such as infrastructure and education, and by promoting private investment.
Once again, good policy is good politics. All Democrats should embrace this Deal for All. They should campaign on it, and they should pledge to stick to these principles in the budget fight that will follow the election.
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