Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is a member of President Obama's deficit commission, talked to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell about her alternative to the proposal by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
Plan Would Close Deficit without Forcing the Middle Class to Pay the Bill
WASHINGTON, DC (November 16, 2010) – Today Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, offered a comprehensive proposal to reduce the federal deficit without making middle class Americans foot the bill. Schakowsky's plan is an alternative to the Bowles-Simpson plan and would reduce the deficit by $426.95 billion in 2015, surpassing President Obama’s $250 billion target. Critically, the Schakowsky plan accomplishes deficit reduction without making cuts to essential federal expenditures that benefit the middle class. In unveiling her proposal, Schakowsky made the following statement:
“The President’s Fiscal Commission has been given a concrete goal: to achieve primary budget balance in 2015, ensuring that all spending is paid for except for interest on the national debt. Last week, co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson laid out their plan, which they presented to the Commission and to the public. Their proposal would have serious consequences for lower and middle class Americans, and that is why I cannot support it.
“I am releasing my own plan today because I believe that there is a better way to achieve our goal – one that protects the poor and the middle-class.
“Lower and middle class Americans did not cause the deficit.
“Just ten years ago the federal budget was generating a surplus as far as the eye could see. That surplus was turned into a deficit due to massive tax cuts – mainly to wealthy Americans; two wars paid for by borrowed money; and a major recession caused by the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks.
“Over the last decade the incomes of middle class Americans have actually shrunk, while those of the wealthiest two percent of the population have exploded.
“The middle class did not benefit from the Republican economic policies that led to the current deficit – they were the victims – they should not be called upon to pick up the tab.
“Fixing the Federal deficit is not an end in itself. The goal of budget policy should be to assure long-term, widely shared economic growth. Economic growth is not just good for businesses and families – it will reduce the deficit. Sustained, long-term economic growth requires that we end the trend of concentrating more and more wealth in the hands of the rich and less and less in the hands of a middle class that can then afford to buy the products and services that will sustain economic growth.
“The proposals included in this plan are aimed at bringing the federal deficit under control using policies that will put Americans back to work and strengthen middle class incomes: the foundation of long-term economic growth.
Go read the rest for more details. It's good to see some pushback against Simpson and Bowles. I'm sure we'll be hearing most of the Beltway Villagers (unlike Lawrence O'Donnell) dismissing it as not being "serious" since it doesn't inflict enough pain on the working class, which needs to be ready to take their medicine so the rich can keep their tax cuts. We'd hate to ever do anything to hurt those "job producers" now, would we?