Tucson Progressives & Democrats Back the ‘Back to Work’ Budget


Btw_3The following guest commentary about the current budget battles in DC was submitted to the Arizona Daily Star for publication. Since the Star chooses to primarily publicize Republican budget plans– and no other ideas, including those proposed by Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva– they didn't publish this commentary about the Congressional Progressive Caucus' Back to Work Budget. So, here you go…

On Tuesday, March 12th, the Congressional
Progressive Caucus released its proposed federal budget. Dubbed the “Back to
Work Budget”, it will be presented as an amendment to the already discredited
Paul Ryan
and Congressional Majority budget. The CPC budget will reduce the
Federal Budget Deficit by more than $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years, will
create 7 million new jobs in its first year, and preserve existing benefits for
Social Security and Medicare
. The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ “Back to
Work” budget will also make public healthcare affordable to the nation by
offering a public option.  

More after the jump.

We would be impressed to see a news item about this
proposal in the Arizona Daily Star. The mainstream media has been running
stories daily about the Paul Ryan budget for weeks even though it has little
chance of passage. The reality-based CPC “Back to Work” budget is also unlikely
to be approved but it represents the views of the largest caucus in Congress,
co-led by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva. It deserves the same level of serious
attention from the media as an unrealistic "Tea Party budget."  

The CPC budget is self-funding; all of it from new
sources. Most likely of those to be vilified opponents will be the proposal to
create a financial transaction tax. This will certainly send the Wall Street
exchanges and brokerage houses into a tizzy if they can’t manage to suppress the
proposal entirely.  The budget proposes to raise corporate taxes by ending
subsidies to corporations producing overseas. It closes luxury tax loopholes and
would raise the highest federal income tax bracket from 45% to 49%. 

Most European countries have financial transaction taxes;
some recently imposed and some decades old such as that in England. We believe
that the extreme concentration of wealth in our economy is counterproductive to
job creation and economic progress. Corporations and the very wealthy are awash
in cash. Although corporate stock prices have never been higher, they are
sluggish to develop expanded lines of production and hire new workers. Nowhere
do we see, for instance, pools of capital investment forming to replace the
70,000 decrepit bridges and deteriorating highways in America. Nowhere do we see
corporations forming to provide no cost childcare and adult homecare for
millions of poor Americans. We believe that breaking the cycle of poverty, which
lead to higher tax revenues and consumer purchasing power, is possible with
proper program planning and adequate funding. The private sector has never
stepped up to address these societal challenges.

Aside from moralistic arguments, it is the domain and the
responsibility of the public sector to take economically sound steps to invest
in infrastructure, provide care for those who cannot care for themselves, and
protect the working class. The Federal Government, if it adopts the realistic
“Back to Work” budget will have a plan to accelerate the economic recovery, put
the country in the black, and put us on a strong competitive footing for the
global economy. 

Jim Hannley Chair, Economic and Social Justice IOT. Progressive Democrats of America, Tucson Chapter

Don Jorgensen, Chair, Pima County Democratic Party