You've heard people ask, "How come they can come up with a couple trillion dollars to invade Iraq, or hundreds of billions for corporate tax cuts, but say we're broke when we need to fix our infrastructure so pipes don't contaminate children with lead poisoning?"
The answer is that the priorities of our current rigged "system" lead to choices like these by our current Congress. The taxing and spending in our government's budgets reflect those priorities. As we all know, these priorities more and more often reflect the values and wishes of the "donor class" and less and less often reflect the values and wishes of the rest of us.
There Is an Alternative Budget
You might not know there is an alternative budget proposal that is much more in line with the priorities and values of "We the People." That budget is the Congressional Progressive Caucus' (CPC) Budget for Fiscal Year 2017, also known as "The People's Budget". The People's Budget is in front of Congress right now.
The CPC People's Budget deals with the real needs of Americans and our economy. It makes major job-creating investments in our country through clean energy, infrastructure, housing, and education, which will increase opportunity for all and boost wages for working Americans. It financially supports a justice system that is fair and effective for all Americans, supports women's reproductive health, supports voting rights, makes debt-free college a reality for all students, provides a plan to halve poverty and more. It pays for this by eliminating corporate tax dodges and breaks.
Priority: Austerity or Prosperity?
Choose your priority:
● Austerity - the current "donor class" budgeting that benefits billionaires, Wall Street and giant corporations through cuts in things government does to make our lives and economy better, combined with cuts in taxes for billionaires and giant corporations. Austerity literally takes money out of the economy and "eats the seed corn." When there are fewer jobs and people really need to find work, employers can pay as little as they can legally get away with, and pit the employees against each other. Meanwhile tax cuts defund our government's ability to regulate what corporations and Wall Street do.
● Prosperity - a "people's" budget that creates millions of jobs (resulting in higher pay for everyone) through investment in maintaining and modernizing infrastructure, launching green energy projects, making preschool and higher education freely available for anyone who wants to attend and supports a justice system that is fair and effective for all Americans. This investment in our people and our economy's future creates fertile soil in which people and businesses can prosper. When there are lots of jobs, companies will "bid up" wages and benefits to attract people to work for them.
The People's Budget will:
● Provide a $1 trillion investment to repair roads and bridges and ensure the restoration of our crumbling infrastructure.
● Create 3.6 million good-paying jobs to push our economy back to genuine full employment by targeting a 4 percent unemployment rate.
● Make corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, cracking down on loopholes and avoidance schemes.
● Make debt-free college a reality for all students by overhauling the student loan system, which currently leaves college students saddled with unmanageable levels of debt.
● Take bold action to fight climate change and invest in a clean-energy economy that supports green jobs with good wages.
Our Isaiah J. Poole has been all over the People's Budget this month. He outlines the People's Budget in "Newly Released People's Budget Doubles Down On Progressive Policies". Later he contrasted the People's Budget with the Republican budget proposal in "People"s Budget Formally Unveiled Amid GOP Dystopia and Dysfunction," noting its...
... sharp contrast between the progressive vision of a government working to strengthen working families and make our economy and politics more fair, and a conservative vision of government all but abandoning struggling families while coddling the wealthy and powerful.
Also see Poole's "Five (of Many) Ways This GOP Budget Would Do Real Harm," "Why We Need The People's Budget's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan" and "People"s Budget Puts Forward An Aggressive Plan To Green Our Economy."
How to Help
It's your choice: Choose the current priority of austerity that benefits billionaires, corporations and Wall Street or a prosperity People's Budget that invests in our economy -- and us.
The Progressive Caucus People's Budget is a bill in front of our Congress. All it takes is enough votes and it becomes the budget of our country. If you choose prosperity, here are some things you can do to help push this budget through Congress:
● Sign our petition in support of the People's Budget. This will help send a message to Congress - and to the presidential candidates.
● Call your representative in Congress and let them know you want her or him to support it, and to declare that he or she supports it.
● Write an op-ed or letter to the editor of a national or local paper about why you support the People's Budget. Tell the media why a bold progressive budget matters to you and your community.
● If you want to find or organize an event in your congressional district to promote the People's Budget, use this page, courtesy of People Demanding Action.
● Post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #CPCBudget, #PeoplesBudget and #Budget2017 to share your message. Follow Twitter handle @ProgCongress.
Here are some sample tweets:
● We need a #PeoplesBudget that works for everyone - join @USProgressives and support the CPC budget: http://p2a.co/ProgressiveCong
● We need a progressive budget that invests in a clean, renewable future #Budget2017 #PeoplesBudget http://p2a.co/ProgressiveCong
● Tell Congress to support a #PeoplesBudget that creates a sustainable future for all http://p2a.co/ProgressiveCong
● The #PeoplesBudget has set aside $1 trillion to address and prevent crises like #Flint: http://p2a.co/ProgressiveCong