“The idea that the government shouldn't invest for job creation and economic growth has been a roadblock in the way of infrastructure construction, expanded preschool programs, and the rehiring of laid-off schoolteachers, police officers and firefighters. It's why Washington's best ideas for cutting the budget include taking food off the tables of the needy, leaving the unemployed to fend for themselves, and nickel-and-diming the disabled. Today the… Congressional Progressive Caucus unveiled its better idea, a budget resolution that restores the sequester cuts and calls for $820 billion in infrastructure spending through 2024.”
JARED BERNSTEIN: The Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget: A Vision for Our Time
"To hear the rhetoric these days, you’d think faster job creation was impossible—we’re stuck with structural unemployment, depressed labor force participation, and weak wage growth. You’d think growth deficits and debt were inevitable unless we’re willing to sacrifice our social insurance programs and our safety net. You’d think investment in opportunity and mobility targeted at the least advantaged among us had to be sacrificed in order to achieve fiscal balance. You’d think we have to disinvest in our children today in order to save them from inheriting “mountains of debt” tomorrow.
We can stimulate faster growth—EPI’s modelling of the CPC’s plan says it will generate over four million jobs—protect and even expand vital programs, and get the national debt as a share of GDP on a solidly downward trajectory."
“One piece of tangible evidence that there is a robust alternative left vision for America can be found in the annual budget plans of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. With 71 members, the CPC is the largest caucus within the Democratic Caucus, and so you can't dismiss it as a tiny fringe. You also can't accuse it of "surrender," as its latest budget proposal makes clear.”
THE ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE: The Progressive Caucus Budget Makes the Right Decisions
“The Caucus calls it the “Better Off Budget," and it puts its money where its mouth is. Thank goodness they’ve issued it, because it puts in perspective how much is actually within our nation’s reach.It is aimed right where it should be: at creating jobs. The budget acknowledges that our jobs crisis is far from over (I’d call it the jobs emergency budget, of course). And it rightly says we can solve our problems.”
THE GUARDIAN: Dean Baker, Paul Ryan isn't the wonk of Washington – it's time to listen to more good ideas
“Did anyone think that Congress was about to approve Rep Ryan’s proposal for replacing Medicare with a voucher system? This proposal had no absolutely prospect of being passed into law in the immediate future, but that didn’t prevent it – nor any number of other right-wing proposals – from getting extensive and respectful coverage from the media. There can be little doubt that there is a double standard here.”
DETROIT NEWS: Rep. John Conyers, Why a progressive budget works
“Budgets are moral documents. In allocating government funds, the federal budget makes a definitive statement about our values and the kind of country we aspire to be.”
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Wall Street Needs to Pay Its Fair Share
“The net effect would be to make the tax system fairer overall and make sure that Wall Street does more to help the country recover from an economic calamity that was largely its doing. Several of the Progressive Caucus’ proposals would also set better incentives for the financial sector itself.”
HUFFINGTON POST: Robert Borosage, Common Sense Takes Courage: The CPC Budget
“The CPC would meet the challenge of repairing our decrepit infrastructure, and expand investments in R&D and renewable energy. It offers aid to states and localities to rehire police, fire fighters and rebuild public services. It creates jobs corps that would employ the young. It provides a major boost to educating our children, with expanded appropriations for teachers, pre-K and rebuilding schools. And instead of shredding the safety net, as Republican budgets demand, it would strengthen it, protecting veterans, expanding child nutrition and food stamp programs, providing seniors with a responsible cost of living adjustment that expands their benefits to meet their costs rather than decreases them.”
"The Better Off Budget envisions profound social changes, including a public health insurance option and waivers for states to implement their own single-payer programs. It imposes a $25-per-ton carbon tax, rebating some of the revenue to low-income families to protect against energy price spikes. It envisages an end to the war in Afghanistan and reduced defense spending going forward, and calls for comprehensive immigration reform. It also requires the president to disclose the total intelligence budget for the first time, changes campaign finance rules and keeps Social Security off the table in budget discussions. In fact, the Progressive Caucus would expand benefits and pay for them by lifting the cap on payroll taxes that fund the program.”
CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE: Progressive Caucus ‘Better Off Budget’ Plan: 9 Million Jobs In 3 Years
“As a statement of values as well as policy, the Caucus’ proposal – called “The Better Off Budget” – is a loud and audacious rebuke to conservative austerity economics.”
“The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is calling on the executive branch to disclose the federal government’s budget for U.S. intelligence operations and agencies — the so-called “black budget” — in an effort to shine light on details that had remained secret until last summer when intelligence funding specifics were revealed from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.”
IN THESE TIMES: Fighting for Fairness, One Budget at a Time
“In today’s Congress, too often a grim landscape of neoliberalism in gridlock, the CPC’s Better Off Budget stands little chance of passing. But that’s not so much the point: The proposal is a broad statement of values, an effort to flush austerity out of the annual budget debates that are often dominated by the Right. By fashioning an alternative to Paul Ryan’s safety-net-slashing schemes, progressives hope to shift the conversation away from austerity and toward economic fairness.”
“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.”
ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE: The Progressive Budget Reminds Us That Government Can Create Jobs
“In the face of federal paralysis, the labor participation rate remains down, wages remain stagnant, and productivity continues to decline. Now more than ever, the government must restore the dream of dignified work to all Americans…The CPC’s budget will create new jobs, improve job quality, and invest in future job growth.”
“On taxes, which are largely untouched by the Obama budget, the progressive caucus would restore Clinton-era marginal tax rates on those earning more than $250,000. (When Clinton left office in 2001, couples earning the inflation-adjusted equivalent of today's $250,000 paid 36%. The tax rate jumped to 39.6% for those earning more than $384,000. Today their statutory tax rate is 33% on incomes of $250,000 to $390,000, 35% from that level to $440,000 and 39.6% above that. The progressives would add a surcharge of several percentage points on incomes $1 million and higher.”
HUFFINGTON POST:Want to Be Better Off? Get Congress to Do This
“Some will criticize this anti-austerity budget as pure fancy, theater, the dream of an unrealistic populist impulse. But look closely and you'll see that the numbers add up -- that it not only expresses the values of a decent society, but it tells what we need to do to get there. In short, it gives us a blueprint to narrow the growing income inequality gap and to be better off as a nation.”
ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: Larry Summers, Jeremy Stein, and the Better Off Budget
"A distinguishing feature of this budget is a significant increase in public investment, which is substantially front-loaded to spur a rapid recovery. The CPC budget takes as its goal the closing of the current “output gap” identified by the Congressional Budget Office—this is the gap between actual gross domestic product and GDP that could be produced if demand shortfalls were not keeping resources (mostly unemployed people) from being utilized…The best way to respond to potential output lost to economic slack is to rebuild it through a period of rapid economic growth—and the CPC budget not only provides for this period of rapid growth, it does it through public investments that are likely to be extraordinarily productive given the long period of comparative neglect of key infrastructure."
"The primary goal of the Better Off Budget is to close the “output gap” that opened after the financial crisis—that is, to tap the economic resources that have been idling for the last few years, leading to higher unemployment and lower wages. Obama’s budget seeks to do the same thing, but wouldn’t close the gap by nearly as much. Ryan’s budget would more or less ignore the gap altogether. In 2013, the gap—measured as potential gross domestic product versus actual gross domestic product—stood at $790 billion. The CPC budget closes it in three years by investing in infrastructure, state aid and a government jobs program. By 2017, the Economic Policy Institute estimates, it will create 8.8 million new jobs."
CITIZENS FOR TAX JUSTICE: Progressive Caucus Budget: We CAN Do Away with Sequestration, Unemployment, and Corporate Tax Dodging
"Because the Congressional Progressive Caucus is willing to take on the corporate interests and others that the rest of Congress tiptoes around, it is able to put forward a plan that actually provides more deficit reduction with less pain for working Americans.The Better Off Budget would reduce the deficit to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product (1.4 percent of economic output) within a decade…The President’s budget would leave a larger deficit, 1.6 percent of GDP, while under the current law the deficit would be 4 percent of GDP."
"What if lawmakers put forward a federal budget plan to tax big financial institutions, enact a healthcare public option and increase spending to put millions of Americans to work on badly needed infrastructure projects? They did. You just didn't read or hear much about it."
SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS NEWS: Progressives' Better Off Budget: 9 Million Jobs, $4 Trillion Deficit Reduction
“Each year the Congressional Progressive Caucus releases its own budget, but even with 74 members - the biggest Democratic caucus - it is completely ignored by the media. Its role is to provide a more visionary alternative to President Obama's budget and a challenge to the Republican version - which does get plenty of air time (due out soon). This year's budget again challenges the austerity mindset that dominates the House, which stokes inequality by cutting crucial federal programs to the bone while refusing to invest in infrastructure that would create millions of jobs."
HUFFINGTON POST: William Hartung, The Ryan Budget: The Good, the Bad and the Alternative
"Skeptics will argue that the CPC plan ignores current political realities, most notably the inability to overcome resistance by Republicans in Congress to raising taxes on any institution or individual, no matter how well off they may be. But this proposition has not been put to the test in the context of a comprehensive plan that provides concrete benefits in the areas of job creation and support for basic human needs."
THE ZERO HOUR: Why Should Reps Vote For Better Off Budget? (VIDEO)
“The Better Off Budget, put together with the expert advice of the folks at the Economic Policy Institute, shows what a New New Deal approach looks like. It makes jobs the highest priority, its drafters boldly stating that it (and successor budgets) would put 8.8 million additional Americans to work by 2017. It would increase spending over the next decade by $2.5 trillion and simultaneously reduce annual deficits by slightly more than $4 trillion, more than the White House budget or what Ryan likely will propose.”
“Relative to current law, the budget would increase spending by about $2.5 trillion over ten years, but still manage to reduce the projected deficit by more than $4 trillion. It does so through a host of new tax revenue — closed loopholes for oil and gas companies, higher tax rates on people making more than $250,000 a year, a new tax rate for millionaires and billionaires, a financial transactions tax, a carbon tax and others. Taken together, the CPC says the budget would produce 8.8 million new jobs before 2017.”