So, I want to start this diary under the presumption that we got taken to the cleaners last night, and that we'll continue getting taken to the cleaners as the budget fight proceeds throughout the year. I'm not sure exactly what got cut, but I know the Republicans got a huge number and that they got it by playing a weak hand extremely well. We need to undercut their hand in the future.
We need a budget proposal of our own, a progressive one that we can stand against Paul Ryan's extremism, a budget that will cut 4 trillion dollars from the deficit but will maintain and extend the values of government that define us as progressives.
We need that budget as an actual bill before the Congress, one that House and Senate Democrats can rally behind and one that the President can actually fight for.
We don't have anything like that now. We have a sensibility among progressives of what the budget should be, of what the role of government should be. We object to and reject the Republican assault on government, but we have nothing positive we can stand behind, no unifying banner that will unite us and give shape and direction to our fight.
We have no budget, and we need one. So in this diary, I propose we -- Daily Kos -- write a budget and present it to our Democratic representatives. And then we back our representatives to the hilt when they fight for our budget, the Democratic one that saves government as we know it.
If you agree this is a good idea, vote in the poll, rec the diary, and follow me over the flip for details on how we can do it.
Our budget needs to do, at a minimum, the following things:
- it needs to raise taxes on the rich in order to reverse the trend towards income inequality that is destroying our way of life.
- it needs to control the cost of entitlement programs without gutting those programs' ability to provide the critically-needed services they were designed to do.
- it needs to promote green energy and take real steps to reverse global warming.
- it needs to pass a CBO review certifying that it will result in a minimum of $4 trillion in savings over the next ten years.
I'm not a budget person, and I'm not sure how to get these things accomplished. We may need to eliminate the income tax, for example, and replace it with a VAT in order to maintain economic competitiveness while at the same time restoring progressivity to the tax code. We may need to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a nationwide single-payer program in order to save Medicare and Medicaid but also arrest their spiraling increases in costs. We will almost certainly have to increase the income ceiling on FICA contributions to address the coming deficits in Social Security. And we may need a carbon tax to finance the transition to a green energy economy.
All of those specific proposals, however, are just brainstorm ideas, ways that might help us get to our four basic principles of a progressive tax structure, entitlement reform, and green energy in a fiscally-sound budget. All of the specific ideas, that is, are negotiable. What is not negotiable are the basic principles, as they are what define us as liberal Democrats.
I propose Daily Kos take this up seriously, that the front page itself get involved in developing real and sustainable numbers (could they hire Stiglitz and others to work on an actual proposal?), that kos himself present a worked-out proposal either to an individual member of Congress (Schakowsky maybe) or to the Progressive Caucus, that we get an actual CBO score, and that we push our proposal as a viable alternative to Ryan's extremism.
The fight in WI against Walker and the Fitzgeralds should inspire us all to do more, and to do it better, to defend progressive government in the United States. Ryan, we need to remember, represents the same state chapter of the GOP as the one that has sparked the nationwide resurgence of the labor and progressive movements. Presenting our own alternative to Ryan's budget will give us a banner to rally around, and it will also make it easier to link Ryan to Walker.
If you agree this needs to be done, vote in the poll, rec the diary. Once we get the strategic idea established, we can work out the details of how to get it done.