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When it rolled out its three previous alternative budgets, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to be charitable, didn't do a very good job of spreading the word. What little media coverage appeared was awful. But mostly it was non-existent. That lesson seems to have been learned. This time around, with the Better Off Budget—which was reported on here at Daily Kos last week—the CPC has put together a website with videos, links to the proposal and to articles and commentary about it, and other relevant material. The budget has been given its own hashtag, #betteroffbudget. The caucus has scheduled a webcast of its March 19 roundtable on the budget and encouraged "citizen sponsors" to publicly endorse it. There is a concerted effort under way to spur local media coverage.

This is a marked improvement over past efforts.

But getting the word out on this progressive alternative to both the Republican budget being put together by Rep. Paul Ryan and President Obama's budget shouldn't be left to the 73-member caucus alone. Like any good progressive project, this one requires citizen activism. Letting people know that this fiscally smart, job-creating, oil-subsidy smashing, infrastructure-building budget exists can be an important aspect of mid-terms campaigning this fall.

As you can see over on the right, one thing you can do to build support is sign our petition to Congress favoring the Better Off Budget. We've already surpassed our 10,000-signature goal, but there is no reason that number can't be doubled or even tripled over the next couple of weeks.

If you've got the time, one very important way to spread the word is to ensure that your local media cover the budget. One way to accomplish that even in this era of mega-concentration and propaganda disguised as journalism is by helping print and television reporters by doing some of their work for them.

Read more about the Better Off Budget campaign and website—which was put together by the Progressive Congress—and how you can help spread the word about it, below the fold.

An example: The Better Off Budget proposes to spend $820 billion on infrastructure repair and upgrading. There isn't a community in the country that doesn't have unmet infrastructure needs, some building or program that's falling down from deferred maintenance or some project that has been on everybody's mind for years but never makes it into the county or municipal or state budget. If you don't already know, find out what it is. Track down a couple of people who would be positively affected doing those repairs or building that project and willing to talk to reporters about it. Then track down a likely-to-be-sympathetic state legislator who would talk about the benefits on camera or in print. Even if you live in a red state, there will be such lawmakers. (Of course, you may have to educate him or her on the Better Off Budget first.) Voilà, half the story is done. Now you can pitch it to a reporter, editor, producer or publisher. Be polite, but be persistent.

If you've got the time and courage, you can write a commentary on the budget yourself and deliver it to your local newspaper. If they won't take an op-ed, turn it into a letter to the editor. Or you can encourage that state legislator to write such an op-ed. Maybe you're lucky enough to have a member of the Progressive Caucus in your state who you should have an easy time getting to write an op-ed or sit for an interview. Every member of the caucus ought to be writing these as a matter of course, but some will need nudging.

Then there is the matter of your local members of Congress who aren't in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. You're probably not going to persuade any Republicans, but there are plenty of Democrats who need your efforts. None of the previous three CPC budgets managed to get 100 votes in the House. That means a majority of Democrats didn't vote for it. Let your own representative or one in a district near yours know that you want them to take the Better Off Budget seriously.

The CPC is doing its job at presenting a solid alternative to budget business as usual. It's our job to help the caucus give it a fair and thorough hearing in the media and in Congress.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (156+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, ExpatGirl, Phoebe Loosinhouse, LibrErica, PhilJD, tardis10, ericlewis0, kharma, angry marmot, Lady Libertine, uniqity, Shockwave, ferg, Glen The Plumber, greenbastard, navajo, SoCalSal, mconvente, Eric Nelson, The Dead Man, weck, bwren, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Habitat Vic, TracieLynn, Sybil Liberty, Radiowalla, CroneWit, Pilotshark, SeaTurtle, trkingmomoe, Catte Nappe, eyo, KayCeSF, dkmich, camlbacker, Bill in Portland Maine, chrississippi, AJayne, Mary Mike, Lost and Found, wader, Medium Head Boy, blueyescryinintherain, dsb, pat bunny, Jim P, YucatanMan, kevinpdx, MKinTN, Polly Syllabic, willyr, Assaf, begone, jrooth, LaFeminista, MJ via Chicago, lunachickie, flowerfarmer, emelyn, theKgirls, cocinero, sydneyluv, petulans, rat racer, Involuntary Exile, jnhobbs, jhancock, manyamile, anodnhajo, No one gets out alive, claude, Thinking Fella, jm214, middleagedhousewife, pierre9045, Tasini, Azazello, Hayate Yagami, parse this, Steveningen, moviemeister76, ModerateJosh, HedwigKos, HoosierDeb, Pandora, llbear, smileycreek, Lujane, gypsytoo, BradyB, mallyroyal, OllieGarkey, bmx writer, WB Reeves, Simplify, xynz, JekyllnHyde, jack 1966, rapala, HeyMikey, jennifer poole, angelajean, blueoregon, onionjim, basquebob, Marihilda, KenBee, opinionated, asym, Sylv, quill, Zinman, Kayakbiker, reginahny, where4art, Dartagnan, asterkitty, Smoh, Brainwrap, poliwrangler, Simple, triv33, sc kitty, kj in missouri, nomandates, chuckvw, bbctooman, Powered Grace, 4kedtongue, Gowrie Gal, johnmorris, Brecht, ratcityreprobate, shermanesq, eeff, Prognosticator, Ian Reifowitz, New Dawning, jbsoul, RandomNonviolence, thomask, JerryNA, jck, akmk, Liberal Thinking, kfunk937, slangist, Alumbrados, stvnjon, hbk, Creosote, Cadillac64, etherealfire, JayRaye, FarWestGirl

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:58:44 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for noting this, MB. There was a time (46+ / 0-)

    when a budget like this would've been proposed by the Democratic Party, rather than what passes as its left wing...

    but in the soul-killing reality of 2014, this is pretty welcome.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:11:36 AM PDT

  •  I love the Progressive Caucus (57+ / 0-)

    I wish Obama did too;

    Congressional Progressives Want To Know Why Obama Won’t Meet With Them

    It’s been four years, by most estimates, since the members of the Progressive Caucus last met with Obama. And even though progressives feel like they’re in a generally good place these days, congressional progressives want some face time with the president.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:16:58 AM PDT

    •  FOUR YEARS since Obama met w Progressives! (35+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the BuzzFeed link, Shockwave.

      No wonder we feel like red-headed step-children.

      First, your 'four years' quote, then more detail:

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/...

      In general, progressive activists have seen successes in 2014.
      When the president pulled chained CPI from his upcoming budget proposal Thursday, progressives celebrated. A few weeks earlier when he signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, they added another notch to their belt. And in his state of the union when Obama focused his message on fighting income inequality, again they were pleased.

      [...]

      Last summer, Obama met with the Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus, both of which also have members that are in the Progressive Caucus. Last week, Obama gave a speech at the Democrat retreat in Cambridge, Md., and just a few weeks before that he met with all congressional Democrats in the White House. The president has had a number of meetings or drinks with congressional Democrats in recent months, in fact.

      [...]

      Ellison said on Dec. 4 [2013] he handed a letter directly to the president requesting some face time for the caucus and like the other times he’s asked for access, hasn’t received a response.

      The White House declined to comment for this story.

      Congressional Progressives are opposing the fast-tracking of TPP, the article says, which may be one reason for the FOUR YEARS of non-communication.
      •  Unbelievable (14+ / 0-)

        Ask yourself why the Progressive Caucus isn't making a bigger stink about this?

        Either they are and nobody's telling us, or they're not because....well, why wouldn't they? I'm at a genuine loss there...

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:23:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obama realizes their irrelevance... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cadillac64

        They fall in line without getting anything in return. Why cater to them? Besides Obama loathes liberals, I don't think he would stomach being around a lot of them unless they're bundling checks.

        I am an economic Keynesian, a social libertarian, a foreign policy internationalist, and militantly anti-authoritarian in every way shape and form.

        by zemongoose on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:11:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope you keep repeating that (0+ / 0-)

          Piss us off enough so you learn who is "irrelevant" and who isn't, when Election Day rolls around.

          Well, unless the vote counts are fixed, but if that's what you're actually trying to say, well, out with it, sweetie. Let's see what ya got in the way of "demonstrable proof" that you don't need the votes of a goodly chunk of the people in the Tent.

          Meanwhile, this is practically "reinforcement propaganda", lol!

          They fall in line without getting anything in return. Why cater to them?
          You cater to them if you want their votes. That's how it's been for a while now. So what will you do when they finally wise up and tell you to take your attitude and stuff it sideways up your nearest orifice? Because they will, particularly if you keep it up with the K-Street Challenge, there.

          In fact, looks to me like you're liable to see it in this cycle. Is that what you really want?

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:55:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's one other "Democratic" bloc that (0+ / 0-)

            Obama seems to be taking for granted.  He's met with the Hispanic caucus but he takes a very patronizing attitude toward them, whilst continuing his draconian deportation policies that are far harsher than anything George W. Bush ever did to Hispanics.  Yeah, the Tea Partiers would just as soon shoot Hispanics as look at them, but that doesn't mean the Hispanics are going to turn out in droves to vote Democratic, especially this year when the Deporter-in-Chief is still the face of the party.

  •  Woot! (11+ / 0-)

    thanks for this

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:20:05 AM PDT

  •  Great diary! (31+ / 0-)

    I love the outline of specific actions that can be taken. I hope the front page is filled with articles about the Better Off Budget, and the budget gets far more public attention than in the past.

    We can/should all be promoting this budget.

  •  We Need a Budget for the American People (15+ / 0-)

    I'm sick of watching the Democrats roll over for Republicans.

    I'm sick of watching plutocrats steal the economy while more of my friends lose jobs and fight to keep food on the table.

    I want to see a budget that supports job growth, helps young people get educated and doesn't support low taxes for the wealthy and Corporate Welfare by taking food out of the mouths of children, the disabled and the elderly.  

    It's time that companies like McDonald's and Walmart pay their employees enough to ensure that they are not forced to depend on the SNAP program (while these same employers bankroll politicians who vote to cut it).

    Thanks for the great diary!

    "The Trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." attributed to Lily Tomlin

    by uniqity on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:30:50 AM PDT

  •  What's wrong in our political debate (37+ / 0-)

    The fact that the NYT ed board described Obama's budget as a "populist wish list" shows what's wrong in our political debate. It basically cuts off everything to the left of Obama (like this) as not worthy of discussion and paints his budget--a mix of good and bad, as is always the case--as far more progressive than it is.

  •  Wow - excellent (12+ / 0-)

    Closing corporate loopholes and new progressive marginal brackets on high incomes (at least that is what it sounds like is happening on tax reform)

    Yes I'm sharing/pushing this: You won't likely hear about the 'Better Off Budget' on 'Meet the Press,' but you can push it anyway and today's work

    Also too:  

    The Better Off Budget proposes to spend $820 billion on infrastructure repair and upgrading.
    signed & shared all of it
    This is really good stuff going on - building again = jobs

    Thx MB - I missed the first announcement Diary but that is fixed now

  •  Thanks for link to 'Better Off Budget' website, MB (17+ / 0-)

    and for your continuing coverage of this exciting (to me!) document.

    And btw, MB, your previous diary was included in a list of online sources reporting on the CPC budget, here --

    http://ourfuture.org/...

    The article at that link contains a nice list of key points of the budget, along with a list of polling results that show very high percentages of the public wanting things the CPC budget provides for.

    And for those who have sworn off signing petitions here, but want to be a 'Citizen Co-Sponsor' of the CPC budget, here's a link --

    http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/...

  •  me too, signed.... (11+ / 0-)

    I'm not going to shut up.   The Dems will either shape up or get shipped out.

    I will not vote for Hillary. What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:49:43 AM PDT

    •  If anything, the recent fracas has made me (10+ / 0-)

      more feisty than ever.  Mother Jones didn't back down, and neither will I. Grrrrrr......!

      :-)

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:07:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The CPC budget comes at the perfect time, (6+ / 0-)

        I think, YucatanMan, in the recent (and ongoing!) 'Identity Debates' around here.

        A Progressive budget that -- as US News & World Report has written -- that is better than the Obama budget and addresses the real-world problems in our country while making public debt fall faster.

        Here's the Congressional Progressives' website --

        http://www.progressivecongress.com/

        •  For the conservative US News & World Report (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CroneWit, bmx writer, felix19, Creosote

          to say that is really something.  They generally represent business interests in their reporting.  This could be a clue that even regular business interests are seeing the fantasy, superstition and failure involved in Reaganomics.  It really is voo-doo economics, as George H. W. Bush once said.

          The fact that President Obama fully embraces neoliberalism is just sad. It's factually, evidentially not a valid pursuit. And yet he goes on and on.  He set up the catfood commission. He pushes for TPP.  He pushed numerous other "free trade" agreements.

          We need someone to consider real economics based on facts and history. That would be the Progressive Budget -- better for the US than Obama's.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:15:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I suspect the diarist you allude to (0+ / 0-)

      also supports the Progressive Caucus.

      I could be wrong though. I'm sure you will correct me if I am.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:25:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The CPC always has solid budgetary plans. (11+ / 0-)

    I wrote a mock op-ed for my Public Finance class in 2011 arguing for the adoption of the People's Budget. It was not only much better for helping reinvigorate the middle class, but it also restored the budget to fiscal balance much sooner than even the austere so-called "Ryan Plan." The problem is, which has been mentioned before, is that the media is always terming Obama proposals as ridiculously far left, so as to cut off discussion of anything actually progressive. And as I mentioned above, the People's Budget of 2011 balances the budget much faster than any right wing plan out there, so it's not about fiscal responsibility. Of course, with republicans, it never was, it least not in my lifetime.

    "There must be something beyond slaughter and barbarism to support the existence of mankind and we must all help search for it."

    by camlbacker on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:02:56 PM PDT

    •  This budget has double the previous (6+ / 0-)

      even tripled the amount of money over past years CPC budgets for infrastructure spending.

      This is the first one that approaches realistic goals on job creation in relation to the size of the under/unemployment problem.

      And because of that it will resonate better with voters.

      20 million jobs..... let the GOP vote against that.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:50:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is great news and hopefully people will (6+ / 0-)

    spread the word.

    I'd add, yes, go for the Op-Ed, the LTE, getting a sitting Member to write an Op-Ed or interview. But we can also write to the Newsreaders themselves, their staff, their producers, print/web journalists...

    As in the Soviet Union and during the Vietnam War, even to a degree Katrina, it just takes one or two widely-seen journalists to say 'this is reality' and the Conventional Wisdoom Bubble pops.

    If we in the blogosphere were really imaginative we'd organize the crowd-funding so we can reach the mass-reach audiences with direct ads on tv, radio, and the papers. But I don't think we're ready to be that imaginative just yet, though this would be the most effective way to go. (Sure most venues would likely reject it, but not all.)

    That aside, every effort to bring the Progressive Budget into the people's eyes, ears, and minds is a valuable effort.


    Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says Political Conventional Wisdoom.

    by Jim P on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:13:04 PM PDT

  •  US News *LOVES* CPC's 'Better Off Budget' (17+ / 0-)

    Looking over the 'Better Off Budget' website  --

    http://www.betteroffbudget.squarespace.com/

    -- looking for coverage I hadn't read yet, I found this link --

    http://www.usnews.com/...

    The author was unfamiliar to me, but boy, is he enthusiastic about the CPC's 'Better Off Budget'.  He covers several of the budget's key points, making his opinion very obvious.

    http://www.usnews.com/...

    the Congressional Progressive Caucus has released its own budget outline, and, once again, it’s the most serious attempt to grapple with the actual economic problems faced by the country.

    [...]

    the Progressive Caucus has put together a serious effort, and the only budget that really tackles the U.S.’s real economic problems – high unemployment, stagnant wages and growing inequality – head on, rather than the imaginary problems of out of control spending and government overreach.

    The author singles out eight of the CPC budget's key points; I'll list only the titles here, but please go read his brief, incisive comments for each:
    Help for the long-term unemployed

    Direct job creation

    No more cuts to food stamps

    No more sequester

    Creating new tax brackets at the top of the income scale

    Implementing a financial transactions tax [ie 'Robin Hood tax']

    Embracing Dave Camp’s bank tax [a GOP proposal to tax biggest banks]

    Getting rid of the cap on Social Security taxes [so higher incomes will also pay into Soc Sec]

    And btw --
    the progressive budget would make the public debt fall faster than President Obama's budget.
    Folks, this is the US News & World Report printing this fiercely enthusiastic coverage of the CPC's 'Better Off Budget'.
  •  Loving this already (9+ / 0-)

    and I only started to dive in.

    FAIR INDIVIDUAL TAXES

          Implements a new Hard Work Tax Credit for households earning less than $150,000.

         Returns to Clinton tax rates for households making over $250,000 and implements new brackets for those making over $1 million.

         Equalizes tax rates for investment income and income from a hard day’s work.

    FAIR CORPORATE TAXES

         Eliminates the ability of U.S. corporations to defer taxes on offshore profits. ? Enacts a Financial Transaction tax on various financial market transactions. ? Implements Chairman Dave Camp’s financial institution excise tax.

    HEALTH CARE

         Protects and strengthens Medicare and Medicaid without cutting benefits for seniors.

         Builds on Affordable Care Act savings and successes, including implementing a public option and expanding payment reforms.

         Allows states to transition to single-payer health care systems.

    ENVIRONMENT

        Closes tax loopholes and ends subsidies provided to oil, gas and coal companies.

        Addresses the climate change crisis by enacting a price on carbon pollution while holding low-income families harmless.

          Invests in clean and renewable energy, which creates middle class jobs, boosts the economy, and cuts pollution.

    Tax cuts for households making less than $150,000, tax increases for those over $250,00.  Higher tax bracket over $1,000,000.  Earned income taxed at same rates as Cap Gains and Dividends.  FUCK YEAH!!!

    Close corporate tax loophole so they fucking pay their goddamn taxes!!! A financial transaction tax!!!  

    Strengthen Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and introduce a public option PLUS allow states to go single-payer.  The only thing missing is on prescription drugs (re-importation, price negotiations, generics on mkt faster).

    Carbon tax, end subsidies, push clean energy.  

    I'm really loving this shit so far.  There could be more like extra savings on prescription drugs, reduction in Medicare age to say 55, cuts in defense spending and so on but so far so good.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:39:22 PM PDT

    •  Really digging in weeds now. (8+ / 0-)

      This is fucking GREAT!!!!

      Millionaire and Billionaire Tax Rates
      –adopts Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s tax rate plan, which
      asks those with income over $1 million to contribute a little more to America’s economic growth. The highest of the new tax rates is still lower than the top bracket in place during most of the Reagan administration:
      -$1–10 million: 45%
      -$10–20 million: 46%
      -$20–100 million: 47%
      -$100 million-1billion:48%
      -$1 billion and over: 49%

      Tax Capital Gains as Ordinary Income & Eliminate Step Up Basis
      –eliminates preferential treatment on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends. Those low rates widen the wealth gap and reduce federal revenues. We also eliminate the step-up basis with the carryover standard, shifting from a system that benefits inheritances to one that accurately reflects the appreciation of assets.

      Progressive & Sensible Estate Tax
      –implements estate tax reform including setting a $2.5
      million exemption ($5 million for couples) while taxing the remainder at 55 percent to 65 percent, as seen in Senator Bernie Sanders’ Progressive Estate Tax Act.  The budget also adopts other reforms and loophole closures as proposed by President Obama and as seen in Rep. Jim McDermott’s Sensible Estate Tax Act.  Today, the first $5.34 million in inheritance can be passed to heirs tax free, with the remainder taxed at 40 percent.

      Eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction for Vacation Homes and Yachts
      –maintains the mortgage interest deduction for primary residences but eliminate the mortgage interest deduction
      for vacation homes and yachts.  The home mortgage interest deduction should not be used to subsidize the luxuries of the wealthiest Americans.

      I think that fucking piece of shit Ken Langone of Home Despot is gonna have a sad over this budget.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:49:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also I stand corrected (6+ / 0-)

        Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Negotiation
        –permits the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers. Giving HHS the ability to negotiate prices, as the Department of Veterans Affairs currently does, will save Medicare $157 billion over 10 years and will reduce costs for seniors.

        Generic Prescription Drug Development and Release
        –prohibits “pay for delay” agreements that brand name manufacturers use to reduce competition and prevent lower cost alternatives from entering the market.

        From this point forward ANY Democrat that runs on 'dusting off Simpson/Bowles' instead of this plan or at least several components of this plan is a fucking moron.    

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:53:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stupid Name (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmx writer

    I swear, is there anyone in the Democratic party that has ever done a branding campaign? "Better Off Budget?"  What the What?

    How About a "Middle Class Call to Action/Arms!" or "Budget to Save Our Middle Class".  Maybe mine aren't great, but I ain't getting paid to come up with this stuff.

    "It's not the best but it's, meh, 'better.'" It sounds like an article from Good Housekeeping about clipping coupons.

    Come on guys we lose this battle every year before we ever start. It's time the Alphas took over messaging and let our thinkers do the policy.

    Buck up and put some life in to the titles to match the good that's inside the proposals.  

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Chilipalmer on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:41:24 PM PDT

  •  820 billion is the most serious proposal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, MPociask, Creosote

    I can recall coming from the either the Senate, the House or the White House in a long time.

    820 billion spent on infrastructure should create slightly more than 20 million jobs, which by chance is the size of the so called SS deficit, and about the same as the job deficit.

    funny dat.......

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:41:40 PM PDT

  •  Here are 10 points I'd out up as a plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zinman

    1 revive the top rate of 70% and apply to incomes greater than 500 million
    2 Revive the CCC and crate a department of Conservation, moving existing agencies out of interior and agriculture and into Conservation. move most public holdings from BLM and spread them amongst the Parks forests and refuges. Each of the 5 agencies (CCC , EPA, FWS NFS and NPS) will receive 20 billion annually for a total of 100 billion.
    3 Revive the Public Works and Work Progress agencies and gear them towards public works, like high speed rail, solar rooftops and modernizing the power grid, as well as archeological digs and restoring places like coastline of Louisiana, Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades
    4 Restore 70s era estate tax rates - with the top rate of 77% for estates over 10 million (since there are roughly 40 of those estates you can probably guess which ones by name)and exempting 2 million for couples.
    5 impose a 1% transaction fee, on stocks, bonds, derivatives, or other financial instruments. split the fee between the buyer and seller so each pays half.
    6 eliminate special treatment for capital gains. income is income regardless of source
    7 eliminate offshore tax havens. if you are an American, you pay American taxes on income whether its in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda or Delaware. unreported income is subject to confiscation.
    8 ban fracking on federal and state lands. in addition, open pit mining and mountaintop removal is also banned.
    9 return top corporate rate to 50% and apply it to companies making at least 1 billion in profit. so BP, Apple Disney etc.
     10 eliminate all subsidies for companies making profits of over 2 billion a quarter. so the oil and gas companies  most of big Agriculture etc.

  •  Excellent timing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Creosote

    I was just hunting for something a little more updated from the Progressive Caucus.

    Thanks so much MB!

  •  Unfortunately, it is not good enough. (0+ / 0-)

    Arguably, it is not even good. I will let some one more knowledgeable explain why.

    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/...

    •  Before you can understand Donner's frame of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prognosticator, Creosote

      reference, you'll have to spend a year learning about the particular version of economic theory that is the focus of the New Economic Perspective website.  If you want to spend this time learning about this specialist school of thought, go here --

      http://neweconomicperspectives.org/...

      And after you've read all 52 chapters of their 'Modern Monetary Theory' (MMT), you'll understand why Donner thinks the CPC budget is 'wrong' under a theory that he can't even explain.

      Here are a couple of links to basic info about MMt --

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/...

      On the one hand, it represents the patient, decades-long academic work of a cadre of perhaps eight or ten working economists (originally there were three or four, plus their students). But MMT was independently co-discovered by a single person. A person who had no specific training or academic background in economics at all – the American businessman and auto-racing enthusiast Warren Mosler. How he came to initially suspect and, ultimately, clearly understand that the spending of sovereign governments had become operationally independent of their taxing and borrowing is recounted in his 2010 book, “The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy.” The 1996 publication of an earlier book of his, “Soft-Currency Economics,” launched MMT as a social, intellectual and online movement. And while the academic side of MMT was completely unknown to him at first, it was not long before the two camps discovered each other, and this has led to a very extensive collaboration in the years since.

      Today, MMT is being discovered by a rapidly-growing worldwide Internet audience. And the public’s growing interest in MMT is evident in other ways as well. One of the movement’s leading spokespersons, Dr. Stephanie Kelton of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, has been a repeat guest on an MSNBC weekend show. She, and other MMT economists, are frequent guests on a number of popular, mostly-progressive radio programs as well – both in the U.S. and in English-speaking countries around the world. And Warren Mosler’s seminal 2010 book was recently published in Italian.

      [...]

       for MMT is the theoretical basis of the “trillion-dollar coin” approach to fiscal cliffs. (The idea was first proposed and debated on Warren Mosler’s website.

      [...]

       MMT’s mostly-neutral stance on contested political and ideological questions. For while MMT principles apply equally, irrespective of things like the size of government or the conceptions and misconceptions of people running governments, it has a policy bias no one can really miss.

      That long quote was cross-posted to Naked Capitalism by a writer at the New Economic Perspectives site, as was this diary here at dKos today:

       http://www.dailykos.com/...

      That diary is the same article linked to by Donner above.  That diarist/writer at NEP are the only voices saying the CPC's budget is 'not good . . . not good enough'.  Yet they are unable to articulate their frame of reference, the specialist standard by which they judge the CEC budget.

      This poorly-articulated theory (MMT) has been criticized; per Wikipedia --

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      MMT has garnered wide criticism from a wide range of schools of economic thought. New Keynesian economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has stated that the MMT view that "deficits never matter" as long as you have your own currency is "just not right,"   . . . [29] MMT economists generally respond to this criticism by saying that the positions taken by critics betray a misunderstanding of MMT. Although critics often represent MMT as supportive of the notion that "deficits don't matter",[29] MMT authors have explicitly stated that that is not a tenet of MMT.[30]

      Austrian school economist Robert P. Murphy states that "the MMT worldview doesn't live up to its promises" and that it seems to be "dead wrong".[31] Daniel Kuehn has voiced his agreement with Murphy, stating "it's bad economics to confuse accounting identities with behavioral laws [...] economics is not accounting."[32]

      And did you note, in the bit on Krugman's criticism, that the MMTers response is to say 'you don't understand' MMT?

      'We can't explain our theory to you, but based on the standards we can't make clear to you, this budget is 'not good enough'.

      Yeah.  Tell it to Krugman.  Then let him explain your criticism to us.

      (To all:  Sorry this got so long.  I had very politely asked the MMT/NEP diarist to re-write his diary in accessible language and to include a brief explanation of MMT so readers could understand it.  The MMTers in that diary were unresponsive.  Then, to see an MMTer saying 'not good enough' without noting that that statement was 'not good enough according to MMT theory which nobody can understand' -- well, I got angry.  Sorry to put you all through this.)

      •  Well, I can get into it... (0+ / 0-)

        And, all other economic models including the main stream ones require less effort to explain?

        First, I want to respond to the Krugman quote because he really misinterprets what I have read in MMT.  MMT does not really say deficits don't matter.  They matter quite a bit.  MMT just says that deficits do not matter in isolation.  If the deficit gets so high it creates demand pull inflation, then the deficit is probably driving inflation.  Taxes should be raised and spending cut.  MMT just says there is no magical deficit number that is right, and attempting to control deficits in isolation makes no sense.

        Now to explaining MMT in the context of the CPC budget.

        The basic part is simple.  You have a closed system of net dollar denominated financial assets.  In MMT, they pick 3 sectors to divide it up into public sector(government), private sector, and export or international(exports) sectors.

        There is nothing outside of these sectors.  So, the flows of financial assets between those sectors must equal 0. ie.
        public sector + private sector + international sector = 0

        So, if the public sector runs a deficit those extra dollars must result in surpluses in the private and/or international sector.  ie. there is a net increase in financial assets in those sectors.  They use the term financial assets because it doesn't matter whether they are dollars or government bonds. Those are assets to the private and international sectors.

        So, for whatever reasons we have a trade deficit of about 2.5% of GDP, and we shouldn't expect that to change dramatically over the course of these budgets. That means that international sector starts at -2.5%.

        We then take the proposed public sector deficits relative to GDP for the various budgets and subtract what goes out as exports and that amount is available for the private sector to increase its net financial assets. The CPC budget adds less than 1% to private sector net financial assets after the first year or two.  As private individuals and a private sector in general it would be good if we could net save more than 1% (in aggregate) by working age people paying off debt and saving for retirement in excess of others spending down savings and taking on debt.  1% is not enough to support that.

        That is the simple part.  The more complicated part is that in the short term there are confounding factors.  Like credit bubbles creating which create economic growth in the short term, but in the long term the bubble bursts.  The CPC budget transfers from the wealthy to the middle class via tax changes and spending are a good thing by putting more money in the hands of those who spend, but that can only go so far.  It also creates the usual blockade of oligarchs fighting what is good for everyone.

        What the model shows to me is the connections within the system. The deficit cannot be lowered without that money coming from somewhere.  Either private sector savings or by flipping the trade deficit. I don't expect the trade deficit to change anytime soon, and I think as a private sector we would prefer to save more.

        The other trick is the dynamics within the private sector.  It would be best to direct the flows to the places where they would do the most economic good.  In this respect the CPC budget is by far the best.

        I do wonder sometimes whether the so called deficit reduction parts of the CPC are "real" in the sense that they will actually happen.  If taxes are set at a certain rate and the various spending efforts are set and hopefully some of that spending is on things that vary with the economy like food stamps and unemployment.  Then, no legislation is written to try to raise taxes or cut spending to hit a particular deficit number.  Then, the deficit should land where ever it lands based on savings rates and net exports.  Hopefully, that is not due to a recession crashing tax receipts.  That is the Greek model for deficit reduction cut spending and raise taxes and crash the economy.  You might end up with a lower absolute budget deficit, but a much higher deficit as a proportion of GDP because the economy crashes faster than the deficit shrinks.

        So, a budget set up such that unless unemployment is low and labor force participation is high (whatever those values are) that tax receipts rise slower than spending decreases, so deficits increase until some sweet spot is reached at which point deficits starts shrinking putting a break on things.  You end up with self stabilizing government spending and taxation.

        The other consequence of all this, if more agreed with it, would be to change the conversation.  I think budget deficits as a policy goal is stupid and should generally be ignored.  Instead let's argue about what should the government do? (Green Energy, Space exploration, parks, schools, research, arts, ????) Are the real resources (not monetary) available to do those things (unemployed people, materials, equipment)?  If not, (full employment, risk of demand pull inflation) should we redirect those resources to those things instead of whatever is currently happening (increase taxes on things we don't want, increase taxes in general and let people decide what they don't want)?

        Finally, are deficits so tragic and cause such horror compared to the suffering of people due to unemployment?  What about the waste of not marshaling those people for the good of everyone? Instead we fight over how to pay for it.  I just find that cruel.

        •  In the real world, which budget (of 3) is best? (0+ / 0-)

          There are three possible Federal budgets on the table.  The world is not using your theoretical MMT model, however stupid that may seem to you.

          Of the three budgets that are 'on the table' -- the Obama budget, the Ryan budget, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus' budget, -- which comes closest to the standards set by your economic model, and why?

          People who are too stupid to understand your MMT model, but who are well-versed in the economic model actually in use, are thinking this:

          http://www.usnews.com/...

          The Progressive Caucus has put together a serious effort, and the only budget that really tackles the U.S.’s real economic problems – high unemployment, stagnant wages and growing inequality – head on, rather than the imaginary problems of out of control spending and government overreach.

          I never thought I'd see the day when I would agree with something published by the very conservative, business-oriented US News & World Report -- but the CPC's 'Better Off Budget' has brought us into agreement.

          So after you've answered the question I posed above, answer this one:

          Within the framework of the economic model currently in use, which of the three budgets -- the Obama budget, the Ryan budget, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus' budget -- provides the best means of dealing with America's real economic problems, as they exist today?

          •  Probably none... (0+ / 0-)

            They all are likely recessionary over the next decade based on their own deficit reduction analyses. The Ryan budget is clearly awful, and not even worth looking at any closer. The Obama and CPC budget are probably a wash as far as being recessionary is concerned. This is taking the actual self analyses of deficit reduction the budgets make.  The trick is that while the CPC budget predicts itself as being more austerian than Obama's budget it directs spending to more stimulative targets which probably make it better than the Obama budget.

            But, that is a narrow view.  Taking the policy proposals in isolation of claims job creation, economic impacts, and deficit reduction. I think the CPC is the best budget.

            I think the thing that kicks me in the gut is that everyone has to kneel at the "Altar of Deficit Reduction".  Not just MMT, but Krugman and other Progressivem and Keynesian economists pretty much agree at a minimum that worrying about deficits and inflation in the face of high unemployment, low labor force participation, and low utilization is stupid.  The main difference is that Krugman and other seem to always qualify that with the idea that we have to worry about theboogie man of the long term debt problem.

            So, the positive thing is the CPC has a good set of policy prescriptions. The criticism is those policies are hobbled by deficit reduction.  And, I argue that any focus on deficit reduction is pointless unless there is demand pull inflation.  I qualify inflation because there is very likely commodity speculation driven inflation going on which is a different creature.

            •  'Deficit reduction' is a political reality (0+ / 0-)

              these days, whether or not one prescribes to MMT.  (And I note that US News & World Report, as cited above, mentions "the imaginary problems of out of control spending and government overreach".)

              So, would I be correct in summarizing your view as 'for those hobbled by 'deficit reduction',

              "the CPC has a good set of policy prescriptions"?

              •  Oh yes... (0+ / 0-)

                I didn't get across that the policies are good.  

                I wasn't really questioning the policies there are very good reasons to do those things.  It is more the conclusions that $400 billion/year removed from the economy and shuffling spending around can create 8.8 million jobs.  The change I would make would be to spend the $4 trillion in deficit reduction on more job creation.

    •  arguably nothing about our civilization (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, Creosote

      is good.

      I'd be willing to bet real money, Donner, you didn't even read half of the incomprehensible jargon at that link

      sure, I think "full employment through various programs, including a Federal Job Guarantee" would be grand, and I agree "there is no shortage of Federal fiscal capacity in the United States."

      But how we get there is not sitting back and writing papers based on economic theories on paper about how "that's not even good" and waiting for all the good to happen in one fell swoop. that's not how politics, or the human race in general, works. Arguably, that's bad.

       

      •  There is quite a bit of good in it... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        I think in so far as it rearranges the lawn chairs it does it in a good way.  I just wish that we could stop touting how much various budgets reduce the deficit as if that were a worthy goal.  How about worrying about actual people suffering first and deficits later?

        I actually have an inkling that the deficit projections are a load of crap in the CPC budget (and probably most all budgets anyways).  The economy will decide the deficits.  I just hope it is not via recession, but I don't hold out much hope for that.

         

  •  Hmmm... wasn't that the Reagan admin slogan? (0+ / 0-)

    ... and the slogan of right wing defunders of government.

    "It's better off-budget"

    Really, that's an unfortunate choice of words.

    •  Probably deliberately so. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miles

      The pre-Reagan era was about the last time government was not under nearly complete corporate control -- and if Saint R said "better off" then this name could well appeal in a Pavlovian way to those still worshiping that plaster saint.

  •  Signed and I think this is great! (4+ / 0-)

    except... don't mean to shit on the parade but the website needs work.  I clicked on several items to get a bullet-pointed list and there's nothing.

    The Facebook link links to some guy's personal FB page, Daniel Parkhurst..??

    "Better Off Budget in Graphics" links to a "radio" and video page....

    The op-ed by John Dingel is pretty vague...

    There should be something easy to read that outlines their proposal on the front page.  This is always our problem.  Dangit.

    Money should be treated like any other controlled substance; if you can't use it responsibly then you don't get to use it.

    by La Gitane on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:18:13 PM PDT

  •  thanks for posting. My House Rep (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, Creosote

    Jared Huffman is a member of the Progressive Caucus. He's campaigning for reelection this year. I will hope to find out if he will campaign on this "Better Off" budget.

  •  OK, For a Start (0+ / 0-)

    This budget is okay, for a start, but I have a couple questions for these people.

    First, why isn't there any cut to defense spending? The executive summary indicates emergency war spending would end and the defense baseline would be reduced, but the Functional Increases section shows no change in overall spending. Our military budget is seriously over budget, and we need to make substantial cuts. My 5X plan would cut about $35 billion each year for ten years (and put that into converting to civilian jobs), for a total reduction of $350 billion a year. $0 isn't close to that.

    Second, why are they trying to stimulate the economy instead of fixing the trade deficit? The root cause of low wages and high unemployment is our trade policy. We need an international minimum wage and substantial, uniform tariffs, so that we encourage production in the U.S., rather than imports.

    Third, why are they continuing the EITC and adding another tax credit instead of increasing the minimum wage? A higher minimum wage obviates the need for much increased government spending. We should get rid of the EITC in favor of a higher minimum wage, because it helps everyone and the money comes from employers, instead of the government.

    There are a lot of good ideas in this budget, though.

    (1) Restoration of long-term unemployment benefits to 99 weeks.
    (2) A better tax structure that more fairly divides the tax burden.
    (3) Along with that, closing tax loopholes and getting rid of a bunch of unnecessary money going to the fossil fuel industry.
    (4) A pledge for more transparency in the spy industry.
    (5) Increases in Social Security, rather than cuts.
    (6) Drug price negotiation.

    There's a lot to like here, but perhaps progressive in Congress isn't the same as it is out here.

    •  Agree about the defense budget... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but absolutely not on the EITC.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:55:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It Should Be Replaced (0+ / 0-)

        The EITC is designed to encourage children. We need to move to a system that gets everyone at least a living wage. What they do with it should be their decision.

        Encouraging the expansion of population is bad public policy. We need to make sure our tax system is neutral with regard to population growth. There are other ways to prevent abuse of poor people.

  •  Correction to Story (0+ / 0-)

    A quick correction to the story above. The Better Off Budget website is attributed to the CPC, the websites, Betteroffbudget.org and betteroffbudget.squarespace.com, are both the sole product of Progressive Congress, NOT the CPC.

    I tried looking for a way to contact the author or editor but wasn't having any luck. Hopefully comments will get through to Meteor Blades or someone could point me in the right direction to note the mistake.

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