A Tale of Two Budgets


The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget introduced Tuesday, March 17 -- "A Raise for America" -- offers the kind of vision we need to ensure a better future for our youth (like MOSES' Crossing Boundaries, Building Bridges or CB3, youth leadership team above) by improving transportation and infrastructure and supporting and providing resources for learning for all children.

Earlier this week the New York Times quoted U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA 7), member of the House Budget Committee, as saying: "A budget is a moral document; it talks about where your values are."

I couldn't agree more with Rep. Woodall on that sentiment. Unfortunately, when it comes to the values in our national budget, it's evident he and I couldn't agree less.

Rep. Woodall was among the majority members in the House Budget Committee who released on Tuesday, "A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America." But the better choice came Wednesday, as the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) released its budget proposal aptly titled, "The People's Budget: A Raise for America." These two budgets reflect not just competing values, but contrasting systems of morality.

The House Majority budget preserves -- or makes worse -- the status quo of trickle-down economic policy that is working only for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

  • For the majority of Americans, the public education system -- the great equalizer -- is failing them and their children because of deep budget cuts, regressive funding measures, and punitive policies intended to dismantle schools rather than rebuild them.
  • Crumbling public infrastructure, like transportation, limits access to opportunity for people of color, women, and the working poor.
  • Slashes to Medicaid, SNAP, and the earned income tax credit prevent hard-working Americans from rising to the middle class and result in an increasing number of children living in poverty.

The CPC People's Budget begins with a clear understanding that a healthy, vital economy is built from the center out -- and that center is real people and their lived experience. The People's Budget calls for the following:

  • An acceleration of economic and employment growth, moving us toward full employment by creating 4.7 million jobs in 2015 and 3.8 million more in the next two years;
  • Investments totaling nearly1.5 trillion over the next three years to repair and to expand our crumbling infrastructure so that it meets the demands of a 21st century society;
  • Expansion of tax credits for middle class workers and the working poor;
  • Strengthening of the social safety net, including healthcare and emergency unemployment benefits;
  • Increased funding for education (including universal pre-K), training, employment, and social services; and
  • A reduction in the deficit in the medium term, in part through a more just tax system that requires corporations and the wealthiest to pay their fair share.

The CPC budget puts people first. It values the common good and love for neighbor above ideology and corporate greed.

My money -- and if I can choose, my taxes -- are on the "People's Budget: A Raise for America."