You know it's true, but let me be the one to commit to publishing it: No one in Washington DC wants to solve our economic problems.
Sure, it makes great fodder for the Sunday shows. They can have on Paul Ryan and legitimize him as a Very. Serious. Economic. Wonk.™ to discuss how we have to effectively kill Social Security (which is deficit neutral as anyone who understands the program well knows) to "save" it for future generations. They can wring their hands over the unemployment rate as a way to blame President Obama, even though the private sector job growth has been positive for 24 straight months. They can invite on those same politicians that authorized the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Bush tax cuts and let them play concern troll over the deficit, as if history only started on January 2009. They can frame the issue as one of sacrifice and 'skin in the game', ignoring that the wealthiest nation in the world has seen the wealth gap widen enormously, offering its riches only for a very few and that 98 percent of us are doing worse than they were before the collapse.
There is an economic crisis that exists in this country and there are some serious solutions designed to resolve them. But you won't hear about them, because they're coming from the marginalized Congressional Progressive Caucus:
The “Back to Work” Budget contains a $544 billion increase over current spending on public investments and job creation in the first year, including $75 billion for an infrastructure program, $155 billion for a public works program and aid to distressed communities, $80 billion for hiring teachers and $92 billion for reinstating the Making Work Pay tax credit. It also expands unemployment insurance, sends more money to the states and undoes the sequester cuts.
The CPC estimates this will create $7 million jobs in the first year—and over the next ten years, the budget would spend over $4 trillion more on job creation and public investments.
But this massive spending is offset by a number of crucial revenue measures: The “Back to Work” budget increases taxes on millionaires and billionaires, taxes investments at the same level as wages, closes corporate tax loopholes, enacts both a financial transactions tax and a carbon tax, and introduces both a public option and government negotiating for drug prices to Medicare. In addition, the budget finds savings by cutting Pentagon spending back to 2006 levels.
In short, they sketch out the opposite vision of Paul Ryan: reduced military spending, robust public investment and a strong safety net.
But this plan involves making sacrifices at the top and increasing revenue, so the Beltway has deemed this a less serious plan than Ryan's, even though it has the same odds of passing as Ryan's does. Steve Benen:
Earlier, I suggested that the Senate Democrats' plan offers a bookend to the House GOP plan, but upon further reflection, that's not quite right. Ryan aims for radicalism; Senate Dems aim for modesty. Ryan throws caution to the wind and laughs at calls for compromise; Senate Dems deliberately identify a moderate middle ground.
The actual bookend for Paul Ryan's vision is the Congressional Progressive Caucus' plan -- it's bold and unapologetic, presenting an agenda without real regard for whether folks on the other side of the aisle will find it worthwhile.
We'll never know for sure whether the public would be amenable to a vision like this. In fact, I have a strong hunch more than 99% of the population will never hear a single word about the "Back To Work Budget." But let's be clear about one thing: on Capitol Hill, when it comes to creating millions of jobs in a hurry, this is the only game in town.
And therein lies the problem: the solutions are there. Common sense solutions that will get us out of our economic rut and bring back prosperity to far more Americans than Ryan's budget will. But we'll only hear Ryan's plan. CPC members will not get invited on multiple Sunday shows to tout their vision. We'll only hear them ask for a grand bargain between the radicalism of Ryan and the center-middle milquetoast of the Murray Plan.
Because no one in Washington actually wants to find a solution.
About Nicole Belle
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