The People’s Budget: Proactive, Pro-public and Progressive

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has released its People’s Budget, which it aptly subtitles a “roadmap to resistance.” The CPC budget is proactive, pro-public, and progressive. In decided contrast to the dystopian vision of the Trump budget, the CPC budget presents a bold vision rooted in the fundamental value that our nation is a shared project of all its people – the demos – for the benefit of the entire demos.

Proactive

The People’s Budget proposes determined actions that invest in the common good. From the $2 trillion investment in desperately needed physical—and environmentally sustainable—infrastructure to the prioritization of the social infrastructure (elder and child care, education, retirement security), the CPC clearly values the social and community assets that lay the foundation for individual health, stability, and prosperity. Importantly, it also invests in the success of individuals, increasing investments in early childhood learning, K-12 education, and debt-free college, as well as healthcare, veterans’ affairs, and poverty-reduction efforts. The People’s Budget also works toward achieving a more inclusive democracy, through specific investments for fair elections, criminal justice reform, and just and comprehensive immigration reform.

By contrast, the Trump budget dramatically cuts the budgets of agencies that are responsible for programs that directly improve people’s lives, while increasing funding for the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. His budget suggests that President Trump is more concerned with defending the borders than ensuring that people thrive within them.

Pro-public

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has proposed a budget that is really for the people.

Under the CPC proposal, federal infrastructure investments will go to communities, rather than the corporations that the Trump infrastructure program will benefit. This means that infrastructure investments will more likely be made based on the needs of real people rather than their profitability to big corporations.

In contrast to Trump’s record of stripping away worker protections, the Progressive Caucus budget would strengthen the ability of working Americans to get their fair share of the economic prosperity they help create, by raising the minimum wage, updating overtime pay regulations, guaranteeing basic benefits like paid sick time and paid family leave, and strengthening workers’ rights to join together in unions and bargain collectively.

The People’s Budget reflects a deep valuing of the demos in democracy, through its investments in voter protection and voting modernization, education, criminal justice, and immigration reform.

Progressive

The People’s Budget calls out the rigged economy and presents concrete steps to make sure that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share, and stop dumping an undue burden on working people. The budget closes key corporate tax breaks, including taxpayer subsidies for executive bonuses and loopholes for stock options. It ensures that the rich contribute fairly through new tax rates for millionaires and billionaires, estate tax reform, caps to tax deductions for the highest tax brackets, and ending tax benefits for second homes and yachts. Finally, the budget reinvests in working people, expanding eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, and initiating a modest new tax credit for working families.

In addition, the People’s Budget takes aim at the growing consolidation of economic power in fewer and fewer (and wealthier and wealthier) hands, increasing the budget of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. As the budget frames the problem: This consolidation of economic power in fewer and fewer hands has led to stagnating wages, increased costs to consumers, less private sector investment, and less innovation.” 

*****

President Trump has presented a budget grounded in corporate capture: he has proposed defunding the very programs that most directly touch the lives of everyday Americans, in favor of investing public funds in programs that will benefit the already wealthy.

Over the coming days, PolicyShop will have posts on particular aspects of the CPC budget that present a vision of our government that is ours and works for all of us. Please check back for deep dives on:

  • Infrastructure and racial equity,
  • Workers’ rights and minimum wage, and
  • Climate change investments.

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