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Open Thread for Night Owls
No doubt many Democrats, including some progressive Democrats, will say the Bernie Sanders budget is a waste of time. They'll argue that it's not all that different from the Congressional Progressive Caucus's People's Budget of 2012 and the Budget for All of 2013. They'll say, like those budgets, that the Sanders budget has no hope of getting traction in a Republican-dominated House of Representatives or even among a large chunk of the Democrats there. So why bother?

This, as I have noted before—some say incessantly before—is backward thinking. We need visionary proposals instead of the same old, same old. Because these are measures we really need to take and because such visionary approaches can inspire Americans, including those who have given up or just about given up on a system that isn't doing all that much to help them. It can spur them to put political leaders into office who will actually push to make such visionary proposals reality.

It is certainly true that getting any of these budgets passed in the current state of affairs is not going to happen. But we have to get past the idea that there are only two budgets worth debating each year: 1) the extremist, devil-take-the-hindmost, dismantle-the-New Deal-and-Great Society, shrink-the-government, cut-taxes-on-the-wealthy, spend-more-on-defense-and-less-on-education Republican budget; and, 2) the slightly less draconian but nonetheless mediocre Democratic budget.

We need a third choice. A progressive choice. A choice that doesn't buy into all the austerity baloney that the two other budgets are shackled to. That third choice needs to be heard even if it takes a long time before becoming an alternative that more and more voters clamor for. Senator Sanders's budget provides a blueprint.

There is nothing radical about it. It could go further. But first steps are needed, and this proposal takes several of those very much in the right direction.

You can offer your support by dropping in at the Campaign for America's Future. Some excerpts:

The Wealthy and Large Corporations Must Pay Their Fair Share

A recent study done by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez shows that ninety-three percent of all new income between 2009 and 2010 went to the top one percent. Everyone else, the bottom ninety-nine percent, divided up the remaining seven percent.

At a time when the rich are becoming much richer and their effective tax rate is the lowest in decades, here are a number of proposals, which could increase federal revenue, help lower the deficit, and adequately fund social needs in America:

• Every year, the United States loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues due to offshore tax abuses by the wealthy and large corporations.  This is wrong.  By cracking down on offshore tax shelters, we can reduce the federal deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next decade.

• By taxing capital gains and dividends the same way that we tax salaried work, we would raise over $730 billion over ten years.

• By repealing the Bush tax cuts for the rich, we could raise at least $700 billion over the next ten years.

• Our economic and deficit crises are a direct result of the greed and recklessness of Wall Street.  By establishing a Wall Street speculation fee of less than one percent on the sale and purchase of credit default swaps, derivatives, stock options and futures, we will reduce the gambling on Wall Street, encourage investment in a productive economy and reduce the deficit by $350 billion over ten years.

• By establishing a progressive estate tax on inherited wealth of more than $3.5 million, we could raise more than $70 billion over ten years.

• The five largest oil companies in the United States have earned about $1 trillion in profits over the past decade. By ending tax breaks and subsidies to big oil, gas and coal companies, we could reduce the deficit by more than $40 billion over the next ten years.

Reduce Defense Spending

The President’s plan to achieve $1.1 trillion in savings over the next decade by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a critical first step, but we must go further.  At a time when the United States has nearly tripled defense spending since 1997, and when we now spend more on the military than every other country on earth combined, it is time to cut military spending.  A report that Bernie recently issued revealed the massive amount of fraud and waste which permeates the Pentagon’s relationship with defense contractors.

Here are several ways that we can immediately reduce defense spending:

• By eliminating outdated Cold War weapons programs, we can save approximately $100 billion a year at the Pentagon.

By eliminating waste, fraud and abuse within the military and every federal government agency, we can save between $150 billion and $200 billion over ten years.

• Four separate investigations by the Government Accountability Office have found that the Pentagon has $36.9 billion in spare parts that it does not need.  We must reform the Pentagon’s purchasing practices to be more transparent and cost effective.

• By bringing the troops home from Afghanistan as soon as possible, we can bring about substantial reductions in defense spending. [...]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2002:

In what is shaping up to be an interesting administration leak, anonymous officials say that the pre-9-11 Bush Administration didn't have terrorism on its radar screen. Despite intense focus on the problem by the Clinton Administration, Bush's National Security Council discussed terrorism in only two if its first 100 meetings.

So, while the Bushies were interested in restarting the Cold War with North Korea and China, terrorism was barely an afterthought. Missile defense was important. Al Queda was ignored. Restarting nuclear testing was a priority. Securing our airports was not.

Lucky for the administration, the 4th of July weekend is coming up, giving it ample opportunities to sound the terrorism alarm bell.


Tweet of the Day:

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Waldman interviewed DemFromCt about health care and polling Friday. And another disbelieving look was taken at the Texas Republican Party Platform.


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