by Nicole Woo
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
This morning, one of the largest caucuses in Congress, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the Better Off Budget. The headline numbers are impressive: 8.8 million jobs by 2017, and $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.
Budget experts and journalists have posted good summaries of the dozens of proposals in the Better Off Budget, such as investments in infrastructure and clean energy; the reversal of sequestration and other spending cuts; and funding for the long-term unemployed, rehiring of state employees, and public works and job training programs.
These provisions would bring our economy towards full employment, a concept that's gotten short shrift despite convincing arguments from economic experts that it's an essential goal for healing the economy. CEPR's Dean Baker and CBPP's Jared Bernstein wrote a book about it, and Brookings just released a brief that summarizes how acting against slack job markets improves economic and job growth, budget projections, as well as career prospects and living standards.
The Better Off Budget also includes more revenues from millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. One proposal is a financial transaction tax (FTT) on Wall Street trading to raise funds as well as "reduce reckless speculation." Dean Baker has long been one of the leading propnents of the FTT. Today Public Citizen released a report that shows how the FTT would cost ordinary investors a tiny amount compared to the fees and expenses they're already charged. And by reducing risky trading and smoothing markets, the FTT may actually help regular folks come out ahead.
And in case you missed it, last month the director of four Harry Potter movies and actors from Love, Actually, Harry Potter and The Walking Dead teamed up on a tongue-in-cheek video about what it may be like in 10 years if Europe, with the exception of the UK, were to enact the FTT now.